With the Cabinet clearing a bill to provide reservation in promotion to SC/STs in government jobs, BSP supremo Mayawati on Tuesday met top BJP leaders seeking their support for its passage in the current session of Parliament.
Ms. Mayawati 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, sources said.
The BJP leaders reportedly told Ms. Mayawati that they will take a final call on this issue after discussing it in the party.
Earlier, Ms. Mayawati, who has been a strong proponent of the issue, had raised apprehensions over the passage of the Bill in this session owing to regular adjournment and had appealed to NDA allies, especially BJP, as well as UPA partners to “help” in passage of the Bill.
The previous Mayawati government of Uttar Pradesh had accorded the reservation in promotions but it was quashed by the Supreme Court earlier this year. The Bill is being brought to circumvent that order of the Supreme Court.
“Given the prevailing situation in Parliament, I do not think this Bill will be passed during this session. Therefore, I appeal and request to NDA allies and BJP to help in passage of the bill,” Ms. Mayawati told reporters after the Cabinet gave its approval.
The constitutional amendment bill requires two third majority of the members present in the House for its passage.
“If BJP and allies do not heed to our appeal and UPA does not ensure its passage, then we can assume...they do not want that ST and SC stand on their own feet and derive benefit of promotion,” she said.
Ms. Mayawati said as debate has already taken place on the issue in the last session, the House requires only about one hour for passage of the Bill.
She also said her party is not averse to reservation in promotion for OBC or for religious minorities. “BSP will be the first party to welcome this,” Ms. Mayawati said.
Samajwadi Party, however, criticised the government for clearing the Bill, saying it is “unconstitutional.”
“We object the government’s decision. It is unconstitutional,” SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said.
He said such a constitutional amendment has been brought four times and has been quashed by the Supreme Court each time.
“Once again the amendment will take place and will be rejected by the court,” he said, adding that the government is doing this to divert attention from the coal block allocation scam.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid said the government will ensure that the Bill is passed soon. “We got it approved in the Cabinet today which shows that we are committed to bring it soon,” he said.