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UPA to seek suspension of SP MPs for SC/ST quota bill

December 11, 2012 18:17 IST

The United Progressive Alliance government has made up its mind to move a resolution on Wednesday in Rajya Sabha to get nine Members of Parliament of the Samajwadi Party suspended for their misbehaviour and disruptions during the debate on the job quota bill for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes.

The UPA will seek the suspension for two days to ensure peaceful deliberations about the constitutional amendment resolution and the passage of the bill.

Hectic behind-the-scene political developments are taking place in Parliament after proceedings of both Houses were disrupted more than four times by MPs protesting the bill.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath has helped draft the resolution to suspend the nine Samajwadi Party MPs. He is believed to have shown the draft to SP MPs.

Kamal Nath now has to take up the issue with Leader of Rajya Sabha Manmohan Singh and Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitely. On Wednesday morning, Kamal Nath will discuss this issue with Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari.

If the resolution on constitutional amendment is passed and the UPA gets an opportunity to get the SC/ST quota bill passed in Rajya Sabha by suspending nine SP MPs, it will have to think of a new strategy to get the bill passed in Lok Sabha. Will the ruling alliance seek the suspension of the 22 Samajwadi Party MPs in Lok Sabha? 

The nine MPs of SP are -- Naresh Agarwal, Jaya Bachchan, Saleem Munabbar Chaudhary, Mohan Singh, Alok Tiwari, Darshan Singh Yadav, Ram Gopal Yadav, Arvind Kumar Singh and Kiranmay Nanda

The suspension is likely to provide political leverage to the SP in Uttar Pradesh. The party may use the bill as a political weapon to show the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party -- a staunch supporter of the bill -- in a poor light.

Leaders of the UPA are discussing these crucial issues with the top leaders of all parties in Parliament.

A visibly annoyed Hamid Ansari on Tuesday had ruled that, "A situation has arisen in which the Chair has to watch helplessly the disruption of the Question Hour very frequently."

Dr Ansari has convened a meeting of the Rules Committee on Wednesday at 3 pm in his chambers to find a way out of the frequent disruptions. He will also deliberate on whether Question Hour should be shifted to the evening slot or if it should be done away with altogether.

These developments indicate that Dr Ansari is concerned about the parliamentary procedures being given a miss repeatedly. He might even consider handing over the responsibility of running the House to the deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha.

Incidentally, the customary shouting and indiscipline in the Rajya Sabha provoked a fierce admonition from its chairman on Tuesday.

The disruptions on Tuesday morning were caused by Opposition partys' parliamentarians for two different reasons -- some wanted an urgent discussion on whether Wal-Mart lobbied in India for a reform that allows the entry of foreign supermarkets while others, mainly from SP, protested against a possible discussion on a proposal that reserves promotions in government jobs for tribals and Dalits.

On Monday, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav vowed that the party will ensure that the quota bill is not taken up for debate. He said that even if this lead to the MPs being suspended, his party would not compromise on the issue.

A large part of the winter session of Parliament has been squandered over the government's decision to allow Wal-Mart and others to sell directly to Indian customers.

At the opposition's insistence, the government took a vote on its flagship reform measure, to end several days of paralysis in both Houses of Parliament.

The UPA managed to win the vote. But it is on the back-foot again after revelations that  Wal-Mart spent Rs 124 crore in the last four years on lobbying for different agendas including the retail reform in India.

This new development has precipitated new protests by the opposition, including the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left Front.

By a correspondent In Delhi