New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Monday passed the constitution amendment bill to provide reservations in promotions for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs).
The Constitution (One Hundred Seventeenth Amendment) Bill, 2012 was passed with 206 members voting for the amendment and 10 voting against after a two-day debate.
The bill, a major demand of the Bahujan Samaj Party, was strongly opposed by the Samajwadi Party (SP).
Earlier in the day, Samajwadi Party forced adjournment of Rajya Sabha for half an hour demanding reservation for Muslims in education and government jobs.
When the House met for the day, Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) said he has given a notice for suspension of Question Hour to take up the issue.
The conditions of Muslims, he said, was worse than Dalits and so there should a Constitutional amendment to provide for reservation to Muslims.
As SP members rushed into the well of the House, Chairman Hamid Ansari said, "Please raise in Zero Hour."
Standing near the podium, they raised slogans demanding implementation of the Sachar Committee report.
The Rajinder Sachar Committee, appointed in 2005 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was commissioned to prepare a report on the latest social, economic and educational condition of the Muslim community of India. It had concluded that the status of Indian Muslims are below the conditions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
"Please don`t come into the Well. This is not allowed," Ansari said. "Please go back to your places," he pleaded with unrelenting SP members.
He then adjourned the House for 30 minutes.
The Congress has issued whips to its MPs to vote in favour of it. Meanwhile the Samajwadi Party said that they will continue to oppose the bill.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi had said yesterday that the party was “committed that there should be reservations in promotions for SCs and STs. We hope that we will be able to get the bill cleared in the Parliament.”
He was asked if the party was planning to issue a whip for voting on the bill on reservation for SCs and STs in promotions. "Definitely the party will issue a whip. Why will it not issue a whip?" Alvi responded.
As a result of the support to the UPA on FDI in retail, the Constitution Amendment Bill has been forcefully pushed by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati. But SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has been opposing it. He has his eyes on the upper caste votes in Uttar Pradesh. The SP had also accused UPA of being hand in glove with the BSP.
SP spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury alleged that to deal with Mulayam, the Centre had adopted a policy to "blackmail" him.
Chowdhury, however, said "come what may, the SP will not change its stand."
"Conspiracy is on to trap the SP supremo in the CBI net for not supporting FDI and a bill on quota in promotions," he claimed in a statement in Lucknow yesterday.
The government is caught in a bind on the stand taken by its two key outside supporters.
With PTI inputs