SP, BSP lock horns in Rajya Sabha over promotion quota bill

Amid repeated disruptions and vociferous protests, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day yesterday, but not before the government introduced a bill for providing quota to SCs and STs in government job promotion.

Minister for Personnel V Narayanasamy tabled the bill providing for guaranteed job promotions in government for SCs and STs amid din over irregularities in coal blocks allocations.┬áThe BJP has been demanding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation over the coal issue. Commotion continued in the house with the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) locking horns over the promotion quota bill.

In the melee, SP member Naresh Agrawal and BSP MP Avtar Singh Karimpuri got into a scuffle. Karimpuri tried to approach the chairman’s podium, while Agarwal tried to stop him. Both physically pushed each other in their attempts.

Talking to mediapersons later, Agarwal blamed Karimpuri for the scuffle. “We wanted division (on the bill), but we were not allowed... In my career, I have never seen any one being stopped from speaking. This is dictatorship,” Agarwal said.┬áKarimpuri, however, refused to comment. BSP chief Mayawati and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav also did not comment on the scuffle.

The issue of bringing a constitutional amendment for ensuring reservation for SCs and STs in job promotions was first raised by Mayawati in the Budget session. SP, which is BSP’s rival in Uttar Pradesh, warned it would not let the bill be passed at any cost.

Condemning the scuffle in the upper house, SC/ST commission chief PL Puniya said, “This is disregard and insult to parliament. It shows even the BSP is not serious about passing the bill.”

Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajay Sabha Ravishankar Prasad called it “compromise with dignity of parliament”. “BJP deeply regrets unfortunate incidents in the Rajya Sabah today. This kind of behaviour compromises the dignity of parliament,” Prasad said.

The proposed bill seeks to amend at least four articles of the constitution. It seeks to remove the term “inadequate representation”, mentioned in Article 16(4) to justify reservation in promotion and appointments, and also delink the term “efficiency of administration” from the claims of SCs/STs for jobs and promotions, mentioned in Article 335, government sources said.

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