Rajya Sabha today witnessed high drama as a scuffle broke out between SP and BSP members when the government introduced a contentious Constitution amendment bill to provide reservation in promotion to SCs and STs in government jobs.
Mulayam Singh Yadav has gone on record with his opposition to the quota bill while BSP supremo Mayawati has been championing it relentlessly. The shocking incident today has brought Parliamentary debate to a new low.
The bill,which circumvents a Supreme Court order quashing such a decision of Uttar Pradesh government in April,seeks to bring certainty and clarity in the matter by substituting a clause of Article 16 of the Constitution.
The scuffle broke out as soon as Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked the government to move the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill,2012.
Members of SP,a party opposed to the bill,were on their feet and party MP Naresh Agrawal proceeded towards the Well.
He was encountered by BSP member Avatar Singh Karimpuri,who grabbed the SP member by his collar to prevent him from trooping into the Well.
At this,other members from the BSP including Brajesh Pathak immediately intervened and held back Karimpuri.
Tempers ran high as the scuffle continued for a few minutes before Karimpuri was finally made to take his seat. Soon marshals were called in the House.
Amid the commotion,the bill was introduced by Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was present when the incident took place.
Six SP members including Ramgopal Yadav and Agrawal then rushed to the Well shouting slogans saying promotion in reservations would not be allowed.
Members from the BJP continued with their protest over the coal block allocation issue but they chose not to troop into the well today. They kept standing and shouting slogans seeking the Prime Minister’s resignation.
SP members,who were in the well protesting against the quota bill,rushed towards the treasury benches as soon as the Chair asked Narayanasamy to introduce the legislation.
Congress members,however,tried to pacify the agitated MPs from SP,which is supporting UPA government from outside.
As Agrawal and Karimpuri pushed each other in the aisle,other members looked stunned.
Agrawal,who was attempting to reach the Chair apparently to snatch papers from Kurien,was prevented from doing so by the marshals.
Even as the high drama continued,Narayanasamy introduced the bill in the din,which was welcomed by the BSP members including Mayawati with the thumping of desk. As soon as the bill was introduced,Kurien adjourned the House till 2 PM. The bill,if passed,will enable the government to continue the scheme of reservation in promotion for the SC/ST as it existed since 1995.
The amendment will give retrospective effect to the proposed amended clause (4A) of Article 16 with effect from the date of its coming into force originally on June 17,1995.
The original clause introduced in 1995 said: “Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any provision for reservation in matters of promotion,with consequential seniority,to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes which,in the opinion of the State,are not adequately represented in the services under the State.”
The amended Article says,”Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in the Constitution,the SCs and the Sts notified under Article 341 and Article 342,respectively,shall be deemed to be backward and nothing in this Article or in Article 335 shall prevent the State from making any provision for reservation in matters of promotions,with consequential seniority,to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of the SCs and the STs to the extent of the percentage of reservation provided to the SCs and STs in the services of the State.”
When the House adjourned after the Bill was introduced,some BSP members including Satish Mishra and Brajesh Pathak went to thank Narayanasamy.
Mishra and Narayanasamy were also seen talking to Agrawal in a bid to mollify him.
Promotion quota bill set for delay
The bill is set for a delay notwithstanding the urgency displayed in bringing it,with government today citing paucity of time in passing it during the current session of Parliament.
The indication that the bill will be delayed was given by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held consultations with him and Defence Minister A K Antony soon after introduction of the proposed legislation saw a scuffle between members of Samajwadi Party and BSP in Rajya Sabha.
“There is no time now,” Shinde told reporters.
On the strong opposition to the bill witnessed in Rajya Sabha,he said,”We will convince them. It is a question of giving justice to the SC/STs who have been struggling for ages.”
He said the Prime Minister and Congress President Sonia Gandhi were keen to have such a law in place.
Shinde disapproved of BSP chief Mayawati’s bitter remarks calling Congress and BJP ‘snakes’.
“It cannot be said. Our intention is very clear. The intention of the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi is very clear. Justice has to be given to them,” he said.
Shinde said Congress had also tried to bring the bill earlier but had not succeeded.
He said SC/ST MPs and MLAs have been demanding for the past two-three years reservation in promotion in government jobs.
Mayawati blames NDA,UPA for delay in passing quota bill
BSP today blamed both UPA and NDA for the delay in passing the bill providing for reservation to SCs and STs in promotions in government jobs.
“Though the Bill relating to SC/ST promotion was introduced,it has not been passed yet and for this both Congress and its allies and BJP and its allies are responsible,” BSP chief Mayawati told reporters outside Parliament.
The Constitution Amendment Bill relating to reservation for promotion of SC/ST employees was introduced in Rajya Sabha amid din.
“I am happy that the Bill was introduced. But the way the House is being disrupted,it looks that it would not be possible to pass the Bill.”
Criticising the BJP for not supporting the Bill,she said,”We strongly condemn the stand taken by the BJP. As far as coal block allocation is concerned,it is also an important matter. But the reservation for SC/ST employees is also equally important.”
She said she had appealed the BJP to support the Bill.
“Because this is an issue concerning the entire country,” she said.
Taking on the UPA,she said,”Congress has vested political interest in delaying in bringing the Bill. It should have come in the last session. But they wanted to have their candidates win the President and Vice-President elections and for this they did not want to annoy any party.”
Mayawati said there is no difference between Congress and BJP and their allies as far as their attitude towards the SC/ST promotion Bill is concerned.
“Both parties (Congress and BJP) for their vested political interest did not push the Bill,” she said.
“They delayed the Bill and they will pay for it in the next elections and SC/ST people will not tolerate this,” she said.
Asked what was their political interest,she said,”Their (BJP’s) calculation is that the House would not function and they would be able to form the government in 2014. They are dreaming of forming government in the next elections.”
“Had they allowed voting,the Bill would have been passed toady. Even if they had allowed only two and half hours in the House for the Bill,it would have been passed. But they are not interested about SC/ST employees,” she said.
For Congress,she said,their interest was to have their nominees in the post of President and Vice-President.
“Congress and its allies are also equally responsible as they prolonged the issue for long otherwise it would have been passed in the last session,” she said.
The BSP supremo said BJP and its allies and Congress and its allies kept their political interest above others and did not support the Bill. “The SC/ST promotion issue was secondary for them,” she said.
When it was pointed out that BSP is supporting the UPA,she said,”We are not part of the government. We are supporting the UPA to weaken the communal forces in the country.”
SP-BSP scuffle unfortunate: Narayanasamy
Terming the scuffle between SP and BSP members as “unfortunate”,Union minister V Narayanasamy today said the government will have to “live with the situation”.
“I had to face (similar) turbulance in the House (Rajya Sabha) when I moved the Lokpal Bill (in the winter session). But we’ll have to live with the situation,” the Minister of State for Personnel told reporters.
The copy of the Lokpal bill was torn by a RJD member.
“I knew they (MPs opposing the bill) were going to come near me,therefore,I did not carry any papers (today),” he said,adding that he introduced the bill without reading out from any document.
Narayanasamy said introduction of the bill was a “historic moment” as it will help SCs/STs get back reservation in promotion which was withdrawn following judicial pronouncements.
To questions on SP’s opposition to the proposed legislation,Narayanasamy said the party was opposed to the move and took the same position in the House today.
“We took all the initiatives. There is no delaying tactic… if some political leaders say something for political expediency,I will not comment,” he said,when asked to comment on BSP chief Mayawati’s attack on Congress and BJP for failing to get the bill passed.