New Delhi: 2.03 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day.
1.58 pm: Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), V Narayanasamy, said the government has done its job by tabling the SC/ST quota bill in the Rajya Sabha. "I think this was a historic moment. This is a demand of not just the people but the Supreme Court also. I am satisfied that the bill has been introduced in the house. The bill is now the property of the house. Government has done its job," he said.
1.30 pm: Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Wednesday said that the SC/ST quota bill was pending for a long time. "This bill was pending for a long time. There has been agitation by MPs and MLAs on the issue. It is a question of justice. There is no time now left in this session. Let's see what happens on Thursday," he said.
1.15 pm: Prime Minister holds consultations with Cabinet colleagues A K Antony and Sushil Kumar Shinde after BSP-SP scuffle in Rajya Sabha.
12.45 pm: Senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday refused to comment on Mayawati, who has slammed the main opposition over the SC/ST quota bill. "Where is the BSP on corruption issue? They should join us," he said.
12.32 pm: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav termed the government's move to table the SC/ST quota bill in Rajya Sabha as unconstitutional. "This is unconstitutional. The bill was introduced and no one came to know about it. We will go to the people against this. This is a promotion to make junior a senior and vice versa. They are making a mockery of the government. They have not spoken to us before introducing the bill," he said.
12.15 pm: BSP supremo Mayawati on Wednesday slammed the NDA and UPA for the delay in passing of the SC/ST quota bill and requested all parties to support the bill in Parliament. "To get the Amendment bill, approval from both the houses is a must. I had personally met the BJP and all the NDA allies and requested them to help the bill to pass in the house."
"I have been told that BJP and its allies said that the demand for the Prime Minister's resignation and other demands be met first and then they will help in the passage of the bill. I condemn the BJP and NDA allies act," she added.
Mayawati blamed both the UPA and the NDA for not allowing safe passage the SC/ST bill.
The UPA government on Wednesday tabled the SC/ST quota bill in the Rajya Sabha amidst uproar by the Opposition. Minister of State for personnel V Narayanasamy introduced the bill in the Upper House. The bill will be taken up in the Rajya Sabha at 2 pm.
Earlier, the government appealed to all political parties to get a bill providing for reservation to SCs and STs in promotions in government jobs passed in Rajya Sabha.
Parliamentary Affair Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said he wanted BJP not to disrupt the proceedings on Wednesday so that the bill can be taken up. "We have already lost three weeks due to disruptions. I would request them to let Parliament function for last two days so that important issues could be taken up," he said.
Minister of State for personnel V Narayanasamy said, "I request all MPs, including those from the opposition parties, to get the bill passed unanimously," he said.
The government on Tuesday cleared a bill providing for reservation to SCs and STs in promotions in government jobs with effect from 1995.
The legislative action, which comes within four months of Supreme Court striking down such a decision by Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh governments, meets the demand of most of the parties, barring the Samajwadi Party.
The Constitution Amendment Bill is being brought to end uncertainties with regard to methodology for deciding the promotion and bring clarity on the issue.
The Samajwadi Party had earlier lashed out at the Centre saying that while reservation of jobs for SCs/STs and OBC candidates was fine, reservations in promotions would not be such a good idea. Although the party leaders indicated that they wanted a similar provision for the OBCs in job promotions, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said the party still opposed the Bill.
"The Cabinet's decision is against natural justice. We will continue to oppose this amended Bill. This is a diversionary tactic of the government to divert attention from the ongoing coal blocks allocations," he said.
While sources in the government said that the Samajwadi Party leaders have been assured that OBCs will also be extended this facility in the near future, Union Minister Salman Khurshid said the Congress will try to get the party to agree to support the Bill.
"We hope that the Samajwadi Party will be on board. It was a unanimous decision. It is not a political googly. It was an honest attempt," said Khurshid.
Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati, who has always been in support of the Bill, welcomed the move.
"We welcome it. We struggled a lot for this. The BSP had first raised it in April in Rajya Sabha following which the Government agreed to an all-party meeting," said Mayawati.
She further requested the NDA to vote for the amended Bill. She met Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, and requested the BJP to postpone their protests over coal blocks allocations by one day so that the House could pass the Bill.
"They should let the House function and help us in passing the Bill in the current session. UPA leaders and ministers should also talk to the Opposition to let the House function for an hour to let the Bill go through.
"In case, it does not get through, then it means that both the NDA and the UPA aren't interested," she said.
The SC/ST Quota Bill: Who stands where
- Congress, BSP and the Left are in favour of the Bill.
- Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena oppose the Bill.
- BJP's stand yet unclear. Some leaders are in support, others refuse to comment.