By Soroor Ahmed (NVONews.Com)
Though Parliament failed to function normally for the 10th day on Tuesday as the BJP kept demanding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation over coal blocks allocation, the Union Cabinet, in what is said as a master-stroke from the Congress, cleared the SC/ST Quota in Job Promotions Bill.
Apart from the Samajwadi Party and the Shiv Sena, no other party has, till date, dared to openly oppose the Bill. The UPA constituents, the Left Front and the Bahujan Samaj Party have supported it. If it is passed it would be a morale-boosting victory for the beleaguered Manmohan Singh government.
The Samajwadi Party MP, Ram Gopal Yadav, said “The Cabinet’s decision is against natural justice. We will continue to oppose this amended Bill. This is a diversionary tactic of the government, to divert attention from the coal scam. This Bill has been cleared to fool the people.”
But the BSP leader, Mayawati, welcomed it and appealed to the NDA, especially the BJP, to support it. Several BJP leaders have reservation on the Bill.
“We welcome it. It was our effort. We struggled a lot for this. BSP had first raised it in April in Rajya Sabha and then the government agreed for an all party meeting,” she said.
Mayawati met BJP leaders and requested them to let the House function. On Tuesday she, along with her party colleague Satish Chandra Mishra, met Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley, urging them to allow Parliament to function so that this Bill could be taken up.
Mayawati had raised apprehensions over the passage of the Bill in this session owing to repeated adjournment.
According to sources the BJP leaders told Mayawati that they would take a final call on this issue after discussing it in the party.
The then Mayawati government of Uttar Pradesh had accorded the reservation in promotions but it was struck down by the Supreme Court earlier this year. The Bill is being brought to circumvent that order of the Apex court.
As the Constitutional Amendment Bill requires two-thirds majority of the members present in the House for its passage the support of the BJP is very crucial.
Mayawati told reporters after the cabinet’s nod on Tuesday that if BJP and allies do not heed to her appeal and UPA does not ensure its passage, then her party can assume that they do not want that ST and SC stand on their own feet and derive benefit of promotion.
She also said her party is not averse to reservation in promotion for OBC or for religious minorities.
With the help of the Bill the Congress-led UPA has launched a major move to counter the challenge posed by the BJP to corner it. The BJP will have to make its stand clear, as of now, it is not in position to oppose it openly.
The government, on its part, sounded confident that the Bill would be able to pass the legal hurdle as Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati had earlier written to the Law Ministry, pointing out that the proposal is not legally possible. Sources say that Vahanvati had told the Law Ministry that reservation for SCs/ STs in promotions could be struck down by the Supreme Court.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid said that the Bill has been formulated in consultation with the Attorney General and there is widespread political consensus on the Bill.