RS takes up quota Bill, SP walks out

FP

The Rajya Sabha today saw members bridging the party divide to support the controversial Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012, which is aimed at providing reservation to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government job promotions, even as the Samajwadi Party members staged a walkout.

Voting on the Bill, which will require two-thirds support for its passage, is expected to take place on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is reported to have appealed to SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to break the logjam. While Mulayam is learnt to have expressed his party's opposition, the SP offered an exit route to the government by staging a walkout in the Rajya Sabha to facilitate discussions on the issue.

The SP is likely to participate in the discussions on Monday to register its protest against the Bill, said sources.

The party, meanwhile, asserted that it would continue to support the UPA government.

"There is no relation between today's events in Rajya Sabha and continuance of our support. Our support continues to the government as of now," said Ram Gopal Yadav, SP's leader in the Rajya Sabha, after leading the walkout. "Today's day is a black day in the history of parliamentary democracy for the simple reason that a patently unconstitutional amendment is being considered..." he added.

Trouble began on Thursday immediately after Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy introduced the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, making a brief statement on why the legislation was required. Seven of the nine SP MPs trooped into the well, shouting slogans against the proposed legislation.

After his repeated requests to the SP members to return to their seats yielded no results, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien directed SP MP Arvind Kumar Singh to leave the House for causing disruptions. Singh, however, refused to leave and continued shouting slogans.

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