Parliament proceedings were derailed for the 11th straight sitting on Wednesday but the Rajya Sabha saw a new low of near-fisticuffs, as one member supporting the introduction of a Constitutional Amendment Bill went for the jugular of another protesting the move.
The Bill that got the Cabinet nod on Tuesday aims to restore reservation for weaker sections in promotions in government jobs in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan that was quashed by the Supreme Court.
The proceedings, which lasted just three minutes, opened in the Rajya Sabha amid high decibel levels. Members were protesting on a medley of issues, ranging from the Bill to coal blocks allocation to the coming visit of the Sri Lankan President.
When the House reconvened at noon, Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan managed to get through some of the listed business, including several initiatives on terror-related crimes such as appointing judges to preside over special courts for trial of scheduled offences and special public prosecutors for conducting cases instituted by the National Investigation Agency. But the situation deteriorated as soon as Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions V. Narayanasamy rose to move the Constitutional Amendment Bill.
Members of the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party were already positioning themselves to square off against each other. As soon as SP’s Naresh Agrawal rushed towards the well, he was confronted by the BSP’s Avatar Singh Karimpuri, who appeared to grab him by the collar. Marshals were on their toes and seemed set to intervene but Mr. Karimpuri’s party colleagues prevailed on him to take his seat and the House was adjourned to let tempers cool.
As the House reassembled at 2 p.m. and Chair P.J. Kurien asked Mr. Narayanasamy to move the Bill, SP members, led by Ramgopal Yadav, entered the well again. They raised slogans such as “Aarakshan mein promotion nahi chalega [No reservation in promotions],” while BJP members who had been stalling the House for over a week over the CAG’s findings on coal blocks allocations, stood up from their seats.
Asking SP members to resume their seats, Mr. Kurien said he could not take up the Bill amid all the shouting. However, as the ruckus continued, Mr. Kurien was forced to adjourn the House for the day — barely three minutes into its post-lunch session.