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Mayawati expresses anger over government’s stand on quota bill

Publish Date: 22 Dec 2012, 06:49 PM
Last Updated: 22 Dec 2012, 07:16 PM
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Maya slams govt’s stand on quota bill
Maya slams govt’s stand on quota bill

New Delhi: BSP chief Mayawati is upset with Congress over its "attitude" on the bill for promotions in government jobs for SCs and STs but will continue support to it for rest of its term.

Days after pandemonium scuttled passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha, Mayawati said the "intention" of the Congress is doubtful and the ruling party did not seem serious on the issue.

"Their intention is doubtful...they want the bill to remain hanging," the BSP chief told PTI in an interview, while underlining that the proposed legislation could have been passed if the Congress and the government wanted.

Asked whether she would continue to extend support to UPA in view of her unhappiness, she ruled out pulling the plug. "We extended support to UPA to see that communal forces do not get strengthened at the central level.... I supported it for three-and-a-half years. Now only one-and-a-quarter year is left.... We will give them further chance," she said.

The reservation bill, being pushed by BSP, was passed by the Rajya Sabha but the debate on it in the Lok Sabha could not be completed because of pandemonium created by Samajwadi Party on December 19 and 20, the last two days of the just-concluded Winter Session.

Mayawati said the government deliberately created a situation in the Lok Sabha where even BJP created uproar after its senior leader L K Advani was disallowed from making his point on the quota bill.

"Had the government been actually willing to get the bill passed, it could have requested for use of marshals (against protesting SP members in Lok Sabha). Marshals were used in Rajya Sabha during Women's Reservation Bill," she said.

She also accused the government of failing on other fronts like economic and poverty alleviation besides uplift of SC and STs. "I am upset," she said.

Mayawati slammed the government for claiming that the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012 was its initiative as she noted that the proposal had been pending since October 2006 when the Supreme Court gave a verdict rendering "ineffective" the implementation of the law for providing quota for SCs/STs in government job promotions.

The BSP chief said she had "compelled" the government to bring the bill which was aimed at bypassing the Supreme Court judgement of April 27, 2012 quashing an order of Uttar Pradesh government.

"It took them six years to bring the Constitutional amendment.... In the real sense it is the UPA government which is responsible for the delay," she said.

She said the government did not contest the case well before the Supreme Court before it set three conditions for quota implementation and later also did not file a review petition.

The Supreme Court order created difficulties in implementation of the policy in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and then Uttar Pradesh, the former UP Chief Minister said.

Giving a detailed background of the issue, Mayawati said after the April verdict of the apex court, she had raised in Parliament the demand for a law to ensure benefits to SC/ST employees.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured that an all-party meeting would be convened but even it was delayed.

"When the Winter Session began, I thought they would keep this as topmost agenda but it was nowhere in the list of business," Mayawati said while explaining her "anguish" over the attitude of the government.

The BSP supremo also denied the introduction of the Bill in the Winter session was a quid pro quo for her support of the government against opposition's motion on FDI in multi-brand retail.

"Had we put that condition (on FDI), they would have passed the bill," she said.

Mayawati claimed that had the opposition motion been passed, the government would not have collapsed, but the opposition would not have allowed Parliament to function smoothly.

"We supported FDI in the interests of SCs and STs so that the House runs smoothly and the bill could be brought," she said.

In a bid to ensure that the quota bill is introduced and passed peacefully, she said BSP waited for the FDI issue to settle down before pressing for the Constitutional amendment. "In the last session, it was the coal scam, and this time it was the FDI issue which disrupted functioning of the proceedings," she said.

In an apparent reference to her arch political rival Samajwadi Party, she said some "vested interests" were trying to project that quota in promotions was a new clause and said it was in force since 1955.

(Agencies)

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