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Maya vents quota bill ire on Ansari

Mayawati and Hamid Ansari

New Delhi, Dec. 12: BSP chief Mayawati today lashed out at Rajya Sabha chairperson Hamid Ansari, demanding that the House be allowed to function after noon.

BSP sources said the reason behind her anger was rival Samajwadi Party’s repeated disruptions whenever the BSP wanted to discuss the SC/ST promotions bill.

This morning, Mayawati and her 14 MPs rushed into the House as minister Anand Sharma was replying to a question. She shouted at Ansari without taking her seat. “Please listen to the (minister’s) reply,” Ansari requested her.

“No, I am not willing to listen to it. We have seen in the last few days that every day the House is not allowed to function after 12pm. You are the chairman of the House. It is your responsibility to ensure that it functions,” the BSP chief said.

Ansari tried to pacify her. “Please sit down. This is Question Hour in progress,” he said. “And who would ensure that the House functions?” Mayawati demanded. Ansari repeated that she should “please let Question Hour progress”, but Mayawati kept insisting the House should run in order after noon.

“You are not seen here after 12pm. What kind of House is this? It is your responsibility. It is for you to ensure. First, we need to have a decision on this (whether the House will run after noon),” she shouted, leading her MPs into the well.

Ansari said it was everyone’s responsibility to ensure smooth functioning of the House. “The House is run with the co-operation of everyone. The House is running right now. You please allow the House to run.”

But Mayawati would not relent and her MPs started shouting slogans. “Dalit virodhi yeh sarkar nahi chalegi (the anti-Dalit government is unacceptable),” the BSP MPs chorused.

Ansari then adjourned the House till noon.

The BSP’s repeated efforts for a discussion on the promotions quota bill have been frustrated because of disruptions by Samajwadi MPs during Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha. During Zero Hour, matters of immediate concern are discussed in the House. In case there is nothing to discuss, the House proceeds to other matters listed for its consideration.

The promotions quota bill was listed for consideration today but could not be taken up because of disorder in the House. Yesterday, minister of state in the PMO, V. Narayanasamy, made two attempts to move it but failed.

Mayawati, who had bailed the government out on the FDI vote last week, warned two days ago that she would take a “tough” stand if the bill was not considered by the House.

Ansari reportedly told some leaders later today: “I am upset. It will be difficult to work in such a situation.”

Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath spoke to Mayawati in the Rajya Sabha lobby after a meeting with Ansari. Sources said Nath told her that leaders of other parties would apologise to Ansari on her behalf if she agreed. But Mayawati said outside Parliament that she would get tougher in the days to come.

In the afternoon, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called up Ansari and conveyed his distress over the developments.

The proceedings continued in the same vein when the House reconvened. The BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra continued from where Mayawati had left. He rushed into the well along with other MPs. The House was finally adjourned for the day.