Cabinet nod for job promotion quotas; BJP, SP,
The cabinet Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment bill to
provide reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in
government job promotions. It immediately created a political
divide with the BJP
New Delhi: The raging BJP protest over the coal blocks allocation disrupted parliament
for the 10th straight day Tuesday, despite which the government
got a bill each passed in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
With just three working days left for the monsoon session of
parliament to end on Sep 7, there is no indication or effort by
both the government and the opposition to restore normalcy in the
two houses so that the pending legislative work could be
But not to be cowed down by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
protest demanding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation, the
government is planning to introduce a bill in the Rajya Sabha on
Wednesday to amend the constitution to provide quotas in
government promotions for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
If the government brings the quota bill in parliament, it may put
the BJP, which has not let parliament function, in a spot, as it
has openly declared support for the draft law.
The BJP leaders met at senior leader L.K. Advani's house to work a
strategy if the government introduces the bill.
Meanwhile, continuing protests by the BJP in both houses forced
the respective presiding officers to adjourn them for the day
without much business, but not before quickly ensuring the passage
of a bill in each house.
In the Rajya Sabha, which met after repeated adjournments at 4
p.m., the house passed The All India Institute of Medical Sciences
(Amendment) Bill, 2012, within a few minutes.
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien ensured that the bill was passed and
then adjourned the house for the day.
Earlier, at 2 p.m. when Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had tried
to introduce the bill, the BJP had drowned out his speech in loud
protests, forcing Kurien to adjourn the house for two hours. The
bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.
In the Lok Sabha, just ahead of its adjournment for the day after
noon, Congress MP P.C. Chacko, who was in the chair, got the
National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences, Bangalore,
Bill 2012 passed amid din caused by the BJP benches.
Earlier in the day, the cabinet met under Manmohan Singh and
cleared the constitution amendment bill for promotion quotas,
which requires two-thirds majority among the MPs present and
voting in both houses of parliament to be passed.
Soon after, a political race began among parties, with the BJP
providing conditional support to the move, the Bahujan Samaj Party
welcoming it and Samajwadi Party opposing it.
"We will bring a constitutional amendment bill to provide
reservations to the SC/ST in job promotions in the Rajya Sabha on
Wednesday. We are determined to pass it... we appeal to all
parties to help pass it," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan
Kumar Bansal told reporters.
If passed by the Rajya Sabha, the bill will be brought in the Lok
Sabha Thursday, he said.
Bansal said the government has requested the BJP to help it pass
The decision on reservations had been taken at an all party
meeting chaired by Manmohan Singh on Aug 21.
The BSP had raised the issue in parliament after the Supreme Court
in April overruled the Uttar Pradesh government's decision to
provide reservations in government job promotions. The BSP, which
had provided the reservation when it was in the government, then
demanded a constitutional amendment to provide for such quotas.
BSP chief Mayawati appealed to the BJP, which has stalled
parliament for 10 days, to let the houses function so that the
bill could be passed.
BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told IANS: "We are supporting the bill.
But some members have some reservations. We will discuss it and
suggest some amendments."
Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav, however, said it would not
allow the bill to be passed, and its fate will be similar to the
women's quota bill that is pending in the Lok Sabha since March
2010 after Rajya Sabha had passed it earlier.
The government said it was committed to getting the bill passed.
"It was a decision taken in an all-party meeting. It is every
one's view," Law Minister Salman Khurshid said.