After days of high drama involving the two rivals of Uttar Pradesh politics — BSP chief Mayawati and SP chief Mulayam Singh, the Rajya Sabha on monday passed the 117th Constitutional Amendment Bill allowing reservation in government job promotions to SC/STs with 194 votes in favour and 10 against.
The UPA Government, a minority in the 245-member House, could get the Bill passed, thanks to the support of the BJP.
The BJP support to the legislation took the sting out of the SP’s aggressive opposition and virtually made it a no-contest issue.
This coming together of the national parties was possible as the government agreed to push through the amendments suggested by Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.
Previously the Bill had a provision that would override Article 335 of the Constitution to provide the SC/ST reservation in job promotions for balanced efficiency of administration. But this reference was removed on BJP demand.
Nine SP members and an Independent Md Adeeb were the only ones who voted against the legislation.
The fact that the Bill’s biggest advocate and political beneficiary is its political rival Mayawati, also made the SP put up a spirited fight against its clearance.
SP members in parliament are known for tearing up Bills which they are unwilling to be passed by the House.
But this time, it was verbal opposition. They participated in the discussion while opposing the Bill.
Though neither Mayawati nor Mulayam are integral part of the UPA dispensation, their crucial outside support is what the govt survives on in Parliament.
The SP had bitterly opposed to the Bill on Sunday, alleging that the Centre was using the CBI probe against their party chief’s family into their disproportionate assets to “blackmail’’ him.
There was much confusion in the House as members of the BSP and SP clashed over the Bill.
The government was getting worried that this quota Bill would consume more time than they could spare.
In the end, however, there was much less sweat than expected.