Mayawati firm on passage of SC/ST promotions bill

BSP chief gives 72-hour deadline to govt

The UPA government’s euphoria over the success on the FDI issue may be shortlived, with the BSP threatening to take a “tough stand” if the bill providing for promotion to the SCs/STs in government jobs is not passed in Parliament.

In a hard-hitting statement outside Parliament on Monday, party president Mayawati set a deadline of 72 hours before the government for passage of the Bill. It was not introduced in the Rajya Sabha following opposition by the Samajwadi Party.

Minister of State for Personnel, V Narayanasamy, could not introduce the Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, as the House was adjourned amid din.

In the Lok Sabha, a reforms Bill on banking laws amendments could not be passed following objection from the Opposition.  The Bill on promotions will be a test of nerves for the UPA, as it has to placate outside supporters BSP and SP, who have taken contradictory stand on the issue. The SP even stalled House proceedings on several occasions in the last 14 days over the issue.

It was only last week that the SP and the BSP bailed out the government in both Houses to ensure that the motion on FDI, moved by the Opposition, was defeated.

The UPA parties and the Left are in support of the Bill, although the DMK is in favour of including the OBCs. However, the BJP is yet to spell out its stand. Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari attempted to break the ice and convened an all-party meeting, but in vain.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, BSP leader Satish Mishra, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and Narayanasamy were present.

Criticising the BJP for stalling House proceedings on Monday, Mayawati accused the SP of acting at the BJP’s behest. “We will see for two-three days more. We will see the government’s stand on the issue. Then, we will decide and a take a tough stand. The SC/ST bill is a very serious issue for us.”

Mincing no words, she put the ball in the Centre’s court. “I want to tell the UPA government that running the House is their responsibility. Now, it is the government’s duty to run the House properly and get this Bill debated and passed.”

Making matters worse, the SP has threatened to disrupt the House every day if the Bill was tabled.

SP leader Ramgopal Yadav said: “This move has been slammed by the courts and if the government is adamant to get this Bill passed, the courts will slam this Bill again. We will continue to oppose this Bill.”

The government, however, is hopeful of ending the impasse. “This bill was introduced in the previous session as well. This is not a new agenda. We will try to convince the Samajwadi Party,” Kamal Nath said.

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