Minister of State Prahlad Singh Patel on Monday posted on social media platform X that the Union Cabinet has approved the women's reservation bill, but deleted the post within an hour.
While there was no official word on what transpired in the Cabinet meeting, which lasted for more than 90 minutes on Monday evening, speculation was rife that it had approved the women's reservation bill.
"Only the Modi government had the moral courage to fulfil the demand for women's reservation which was proved by the approval of the cabinet. Congratulations Narendra Modi ji and congratulations to the Modi government," the minister said in the post on X which was later deleted.
Patel is the minister of state for food processing industries and jal shakti.
Government sources had earlier indicated that the bill has been approved by the Cabinet and is likely to be tabled in Parliament.
"It can be brought before Parliament," a top government functionary said when asked whether the Women's Reservation Bill can be presented in Parliament, which meets in the new building on Tuesday.
Patel was earlier a minister of state with independent charge but in a recent Cabinet reshuffle, he was made a minister of state.
The Union Cabinet met on Monday evening after the first sitting of the five-day special session of Parliament. The Cabinet meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sources said several BJP ministers and MPs have been asked to bring women constituents to Parliament in the coming days. BJP president J P Nadda met several of them on Monday.
Cutting across political lines, leaders have demanded the introduction of the women's reservation bill, which guarantees a 33 per cent quota in Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
The Women's Reservation Bill passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010 had provision for 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
Earlier addressing the media, the prime minister said that "historic decisions" will be taken this Parliament session which may be of short duration but is big on occasion.
The cabinet meeting was attended by Union ministers including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Piyush Goyal, Pralhad Joshi, S Jaishankar, Nirmala Sitharaman, Dharmendra Pradhan, Nitin Gadkari and Arjun Ram Meghwal.
Ever since it was announced that the Parliament session would be held from September 18-22, there has been speculation on various bills, including the women's reservation bill.
In his remarks in Lok Sabha on the discussion on 75 years of Parliament, he asserted that the contribution of women parliamentarians has been on the rise over the years.
Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh welcomed the "reported decision" of the Union Cabinet.
"It's been a long-standing demand of the Congress party to implement women's reservation. We welcome the reported decision of the Union Cabinet and await the details of the Bill.
"This could have very well been discussed in the all-party meeting before the Special Session, and consensus could have been built instead of operating under a veil of secrecy," Ramesh said on X.
In a post on X, the BJP Mahila Morcha said, "Cabinet approves Women's Reservation Bill. The NDA Govt led by PM Shri @narendramodi ji creates history !! We at BJP Mahila Morcha express our gratitude".