Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati on Saturday blamed the Centre for the non-passage of the Constitution (117) Amendment Bill on quota for SCs/STs in job promotions in the Lok Sabha, and charged the government with not being serious about its passage.

Asked about Congress president Sonia Gandhi trying to retrieve the Bill from a Samajwadi Party member who had snatched it from a Minister, she said: “If they were serious, why did they not bring in marshals to remove those who were not allowing the Minister to present the Bill, as was done in the case of Women’s Reservation Bill.”

In an interview with The Hindu, Ms. Mayawati expressed her party’s disappointment at the Bill not being passed after getting the Rajya Sabha nod.

A wrong impression was being created by some parties that this was new legislation. “Reservation for SCs/STs in job promotions have been there since 1955. However, in 2006, in the case of M. Nagraj versus the Government of India, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of amendment but laid down certain conditionality before framing any law on the issue. The present constitutional amendment is to nullify the verdict.”

According to Ms. Mayawati, the Centre did not present the case well and did not go in for a review. “The Centre has been silent between 2006 and 2012. This constitutional amendment should have come long ago. Not bringing it [the Bill] has affected Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.”

“No quid pro quo”

The BSP chief said she had supported the government in the Rajya Sabha on the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail as she did not want the UPA to lose so that the Opposition did not stall the proceedings on the ground that it was a minority government and the promotion quota Bill could be taken up.

“There was no quid pro quo,” she said, when asked whether there was a give and take with the government for her party to take different stands in both Houses.

Referring to agitations and strikes in Uttar Pradesh against the Bill, which had been vehemently opposed by the Samajwadi Party, Ms. Mayawati said these were sponsored strikes as the upper castes outside the State had not opposed the measure.

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