The proxy war between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) spilled out on the floor of the House with Hamid Ansari,Vice-President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, becoming an unwitting victim in the crossfire.
Around 11.30 am, when Commerce Minister Anand Sharma was answering a question in the Rajya Sabha, BSP chief Mayawati got up and said the House was repeatedly being disturbed at noon when it was time for the Reservations for SC and ST in promotions Bill (117 Constitutional Amendment Bill) to be taken up.
The SP is opposed to the reservations in the promotions Bill and has made no secret of this.
“We have seen in the last few days that every day the House is not allowed to function after 12 pm. You are chairman of the House. It is your responsibility to ensure that it functions,” Mayawati said, addressing Ansari.
A visibly stunned Ansari tried to pacify her but she was unrelenting. “I am not ready to listen to anything... Who will ensure that the House functions?” she said.
As BSP MPs stayed in the Well shouting slogans, the Chairman had to adjourn the House.
Ansari told the BSP chief that it was the responsibility of everyone to ensure the smooth functioning of the House.
“You are a senior leader... The House is run with the cooperation with everyone. The House is running right now. Please allow the House to run,” he told Mayawati.
However, she did not relent and her party colleagues shouted slogans against the government such as “ Dalit virodhi ye sarkar nahi chalegi (The anti-Dalit government is not acceptable).
Ansari then adjourned the House till noon. Similar scenes later forced one more adjournment and finally the House was adjourned for the day.
According to parliamentary tradition, the Chair is never questioned by a member on conduct of the House.
Later, Mayawati told reporters outside Parliament that her outburst in the House was the “first step” of the tough stance she is going to adopt as she accused the government of not seeming to be serious about the passage of the Bill.
Later, The chairman held a meeting of the Rules Committee where rescheduling the Question Hour was put before the committee as an option.
A proposal is that Question Hour be shifted from 11 am to 12 pm so that Special Mentions can be mooted at 11 am. A three member committee headed by Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla and MP Chandan Mitra will hold consultations on the proposal of the Rules Committee to shift Question Hour to 12 pm.
The Rajya Sabha could not function today because of the uproar over the Bill providing for reservation to SCs/STs in government job promotions while the Lok Sabha was paralysed by BSP members who demanded details about coal block allocations which have been shrouded by allegations of irregularities.