Quota bill: Mayawati targets RS Chairman, warns govt
New Delhi: Trying to extract her price in return for support on FDI, Mayawati on Wednesday stepped up pressure for passage of the quota bill for SCs and STs when she sharply criticised Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari and attacked the government after which the House was adjourned.
She stunned the Rajya Sabha when she criticised Ansari, who is also the country's Vice President over conduct of the House.
Upset over the fact that lack of order prevented passage of the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill that provides for reservation for SCs/STs in government job promotions, she rushed to the House during the Question Hour and criticised the Chairman without notice.
A visibly stunned Chairman tried to pacify her telling her that the House can function smoothly only with the cooperation of all sections.
But she continued to make some remarks against the Chairman, which were expunged in the evening, hours later.
Government is in a bind with BSP pressing hard for the passage of the quota bill and the Samajwadi Party vehemently opposing it.
The BSP supremo's outburst came on a day when both Houses were again unable to conduct any significant business due to disruptions.
In the evening, Ansari convened a meeting of the Rules Committee to discuss the issue of either reschdeduling the Question Hour or totally disband it in view of the frequent disruption of the Hour by parties agitating on some issue or the other.
At the meeting, pained over Mayawati's remarks, Ansari told the leaders of political parties that it would be difficult for him to work in such circumstances.
"I am upset, it will be difficult to work in such a situation," he said according to leaders of political parties present at a meeting with him.
Ansari's remarks were made in the presence of
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, Leader of the Opposition in RS Arun Jaitley and several other opposition leaders soon after the Upper House was adjourned for the day.
This prompted Kamal Nath to have separate consultations with Mayawati in the lobby of the House.
Soon after, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called up Ansari and conveyed his distress and concern over the developments in the Rajya Sabha.
Rajya Sabha could not function because of uproar over the quota Bill providing for reservation to SCs/STs in government job promotions while Lok Sabha was paralysed by BSP members by demanding details about coal block allocations which have been shrouded by allegations of irregularities.
Ansari told the BSP chief that it was the responsibility of everyone to ensure smooth functioning of the House.
"You are a senior leader...The House is run with the cooperation with everyone. The House is running right now. You please allow the House to run," he told Mayawati.
As she did not relent and her party colleagues shouted slogans against the government like 'dalit virodhi ye sarkar nahi chalegi' (anti-dalit government is not acceptable).
Ansari then adjourned the House till noon. Similar scenes later forced one more adjournment and finally for the day.
Rules do not not permit a member to question the Chair on any issue, more so on his presence or absence.
Later, Mayawati told reporters outside Parliament that her critical remarks in Rajya Sabha was the "first step" of her tough stance that she is going to adopt as she accused government of not seeming to be serious about passage of the bill.
"I had said two days ago that BSP would adopt a 'tough' stand. It is the responsibility of the government and the Rajya Sabha Chairman to bring the House in order...Today's (criticism) was our first tough stand in Rajya Sabha.
We will take our next stand at an appropriate time," she said.