New Delhi: Uproarious scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday over the Constitution (One Hundred Seventeenth Amendment) Bill, 2012, which provides for reservation to SCs/STs in job promotions, leaving little scope for the Bill to be passed in this Monsoon Session which ends on Friday.
The Bill, which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday amid commotion and scuffle between members of SP and BSP in the House, could not be taken up even as Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy rose to move it for consideration and passage.
After the Upper House of Parliament was adjourned for the day, BSP supremo and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati in a scathing attack blamed the Congress for playing a double role on the SC/ST Quota Bill. "If the Congress wants bill passed, they should get the House in order first and find a middle way on coal controversy. Government should take those opposing bill on board. Government is playing a double game on bill. They don’t want to upset any party," she said.
The BJP said that the Congress should first come out clean in the coal controversy before taking up any other agenda.
Requesting passage of the SC/ST Quota Bill, Mayawati also demanded an extension of the Monsoon Session by 10 to 12 days.
The Samajwadi Party has openly opposed the measure and it has been joined by UPA constituent DMK, which too has demanded quota for other backward classes (OBCs) in the Bill.
Showing no signs of backtracking on the issue, the BJP on Thursday said that the Congress should first come out clean in the coal blocks allocation controversy before taking up any other agenda in Parliament. "The government is trying to hide in the shade of corruption and Parliament session. They should first agree to the BJP and cancel coal block allocations. Only then can we tackle other agenda," BJP Spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
Earlier, the BJP rejected Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's request to allow the passing of the pending bills, including the SC/ST Quota Bill. In a bid to try for the passage of the Bill, Shinde had held a meeting on Thursday morning with the top BJP leaders – LK Advani, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj.
The UPA does not have majority in the Upper House and a Constitutional Amendment Bill requires two-thirds majority. Congress has issued a whip to its members to support the legislation.
BJP has 49 members in the 245-member Rajya Sabha while Congress has a strength of 70. BSP has 15, SP and TMC have nine each, DMK seven and NCP ten members.
What happened in the Rajya Sabha:
Samajwadi Party and Shiv Sena on Thursday thwarted an attempt in the Rajya Sabha to take up for passage the contentious Bill providing for quota in promotion for SCs and STs in government jobs.
Members of SP and Shiv Sena trooped into the Well shouting slogans against the proposed legislation. Their protest was coupled with that of BJP members who were shouting slogans to press for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over coal block allocation issue.
The House saw uproar by members of SP, Shiv Sena and BJP when it met at 2 pm after two adjournments over coal issue as soon as the Chair asked to move the Bill as per the listed business.
PJ Kurien, who was in the Chair, asked the protesting members to resume their seats so that the Bill could be considered. However, as the din continued, he adjourned the House for the day.
Earlier at noon also, SP members shouted slogans "reservation in promotion will not be allowed" while BJP members were chanting demands for the Prime Minister's resignation. Six of the SP members led by Naresh Agrawal were in the Well.
Md Adeeb, an Independent member of the Upper House with the support of both Congress and SP, also joined the protest in the Well.
The Bill seeks to circumvent a Supreme Court order quashing such a decision of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan governments.
(With additional inputs from PTI)