Govt, SP headed for showdown on quota bill, BSP wants quick passage
New Delhi: The UPA government and the SP on Monday appeared headed for a showdown on the bill providing for reservation to SC/STs in government job promotions with its key outside supporter vowing to disrupt the remaining part of Rajya Sabha session if the measure is passed by the House.
The government was also caught in the middle of the SP-BSP rivalry on the quota bill coming under intense pressure from BSP chief Mayawati for its quick passage just days after her party backed it in both Houses of Parliament on FDI in retail.
Mayawati said she will be forced to take a tough stand if the amendment bill is not passed. The Winter Session of Parliament is due to conclude on December 20.
BJP, the principal opposition party, on its part indicated that it is likely to support the bill with some amendments, saying it favours all measures for social justice provided they are within constitutional parameters.
Amid diverse pulls and pressures from SP and BSP, government said it was holding consultations to find a way out of the deadlock.
"We will disrupt the House and not allow it to function if the bill (for reservation to SC/ST in job promotions) is passed...We will continue to oppose the bill and we are ready for suspension," SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav told reporters.
Asked if the party will disrupt the House proceedings if the government gets the bill passed amid the din, he said, "If they are adamant to get it passed, then we will do it."
On the issue of the bill being introduced by Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy in Rajya Sabha today, the SP leader said, "The whole House was in turnmoil. (It`s introduction) is not according to the norms. It is unconstitutional. It will lead to hatred between communities and will create division in the society."
BSP threatened to take a "tough stand" in case the government does not help bring order in the Rajya Sabha and get the bill passed.
It also charged BJP with deliberately stalling the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha and accused SP of acting at its behest to stall the bill.
"We will see for two-three days more. We will see government`s stand on the issue. What they do and what the Chairman of Rajya Sabha says. Then, we will decide and a take a tough stand. The SC/ST bill is a very serious issue for us," Mayawati told reporters.
The bill, which will amend the Constitution to allow
reservation in promotion for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribals, was listed in the Rajya Sabha and soon after it was taken up, there was disruption and the House was adjourned for the day.
Asking the government to bring order in the House, Mayawati said, "I want to tell the UPA government that running the House is their responsibility. Now, it is the government`s duty to run the House properly and get this bill debated and passed."
Congress Spokesman P C Chacko said while the Bill is the commitment of Congress party, "ultimately, it is the collective wisdom of Parliament" that will decide on the issue.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari also held a meeting of various political parties in his chamber, with Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley, BSP leader Satish Mishra, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and MoS in PMO V Narayanasamy attending it.
Narayanasamy said "the government is committed to SC/ST Bill bill and get it passed in this session itself and is holding consultations in this regard. The PM has also held two all-party meetings on this issue."
Congress spokesman P C Chacko said "the House has to decide. Our commitment is clear. This is not something that has to do with the present context (linking it with FDI). We hope this reservation is given full support by all parties. We cannot compromise on it as we have pushed it. It is a political commitment of Congress party. We fully support it."
The BJP also outlined its stand on the row over the bill.
"There seem to be a lot of hurdles in the passage of the reservation in promotion for SC/ST bill. BJP is in favour of social justice for SC/ST but within constitutional parameters," BJP Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.
The party also referred to the Supreme Court ruling on the issue.
"BJP is fully supportive of this measure subject to constitutional parameters," he said, when asked if the party will support the bill in Parliament.
But sources said the party wants certain provisions in the Bill to be changed and has also discussed them with BSP, which is spearheading the campaign to get it passed, and other parties.
Making its stand clear on the issue, Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said his party will not allow the House to run if the government is adamant on bringing the reservation bill.
"Yes, of course. If the government is adamant on bringing it (Bill), Samajwadi Party will certainly object to it. We will disrupt the House and we will not allow the House to run."
He was asked whether SP will disrupt the House proceeding if the the Bill is pushed by the government.
Yadav termed the Bill "unconstitutional" and "unethical".
"We are from the very beginning opposed to the bill because it is unconstitutional, unethical and it creates a division in the society itself," he said.
Replying to a question on alleged lobbying in the US by Walmart to open shops in India, Yadav said the Prime Minister should explain on it.
"(It is a) very disturbing news and we have demanded that the Prime Minister should come in the House and explain it. If money has been given for lobbying for Walmart in India, it is very disturbing," he said.
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