The government has planned to put opposition Bharatiya Janata Party in the dock by bringing in a constitutional amendment providing for reservation in promotions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government service in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
While the amendment was cleared by the Union Cabinet on Tuesday, the government decided to bring it immediately in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and the Lok Sabha on Thursday to pass the amendment.
For the last 10 days the BJP has not allowed the Parliament to transact any business amidst constant adjournments demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as cancellation of coal blocks allotted by the United Progressive Alliance government.
The government and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati had approached the BJP asking its leaders to support the bill. However, the BJP after a meeting late on Tuesday night, had decided that it won't allow the passage of the bill and will continue to force adjournment of both the Houses on coal block allocation issue.
In the all party meeting called by the government on the bill, the BJP had also supported it and the lone dissenter was the Samajwadi Party which said that the Other Backward Classes should also be brought under the ambit of its reservation.
The Samajwadi Party has called it a diversionary tactics by the UPA, as it plans to disrupt the house on Wednesday on this.
According to the rules, in order to pass a constitutional amendment, there has to be a strength of two thirds of those present and voting and the vote has to be registered. Whether a division can take place amidst the din of shouting and protests is difficult to imagine, but according to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, those who are supporting the bill can line up on one side of the House while the protestors line up on the other side and the numbers can be counted, which would be the same as registering a vote.
The Congress and the UPA are issuing a three line whip asking its members to be present in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Sources say that even if the constitutional amendment is not allowed to be taken up by the protesting members, the government will send a strong message to the dalit and tribal communities that it backs their demand for reservation in promotion and the BJP would be the loser in such an enterprise.
The government would have also succeeded in breaking the deadlock which has stalled Parliament for the bulk of this session though the government has passed some bills amidst the din, though of course without a discussion.
But the government has been careful to point out that they have not brought any of the controversial bills on which there are differences of opinion but only those in which there is agreement and consensus by all sides of the House.
The government has approached the chair for a waiver on having to give notice before bringing the bill and says it is determined that the bill should be passed. Mayawati has been the biggest votary of this bill and has been pushing for it, even though the court has struck it down when she brought it in the UP assembly.
Pawan Bansal has also mooted the idea that the government is willing to extend the life of this session by another week if the BJP packs up and goes home at the end of the week so that a meaningful discussion can take place on various pending legislations and they can then be passed by the government.
He said that the BJP plans to launch protests all over the country on the coal block allocation issue and they can do this if they decide not to attend Parliament.