Despite the scuffle in the House on Wednesday, the government would try for the passage of the bill providing quota in promotions to SC/ST in government jobs in Parliament on Thursday.
However, the immediate passage of bill looks unlikely with opposition emerging from within UPA and the continuing deadlock in Parliament. The Samajwadi Party has openly opposed the measure and it has been joined by UPA constituent DMK, which too has demanded quota for OBC.
The government managed to introduced the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012 for SC/ST quota for promotion in government jobs in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, but with just two days left in the Monsoon session, many Congress and BJP MPs are not sure if it will be passed.
Asked if it was possible to pass the bill in the current session, parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Wednesday said,"We do want to pass the bill… we will try for the passage of the bill again tomorrow (Thursday)."
On its part, the Congress has issued a whip to its MPs, asking them to vote for the bill.
Earlier on Wednesday, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde indicated it might be delayed. This was after PM Manmohan Singh held consultations with Shinde and defence minister AK Antony after the bill's introduction saw a scuffle between members of SP and BSP in Rajya Sabha.
"There is no time now," Shinde said when asked whether the bill will be passed by Parliament in this session.
BJP leaders insisted that the party espoused the cause of SCs/STs and that no section of the party was opposed to the bill. "The manner in which the bill... was brought shows that the government is using it as a diversionary tactic... This is a clear ploy of diversion from the fight against corruption," BJP's chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
BJP sources said the bill, which required two-third members to be sitting and voting for it, was introduced despite House chairman Hamid Ansari being averse to the idea amid the din.
Both Shinde and Prasad disapproved of Mayawati's remarks calling the Congress and BJP 'snakes' and the reason behind the delay in the passage of the bill. Shinde said, "Our intention is very clear. Justice has to be done to the Dalits." Prasad said, "There is no disconnect between social justice and fight against corruption. Let Mayawati come out against the UPA's corruption at least once."
MoS V Narayanasamy, who introduced the bill, said, "There is no delaying tactic... if some leaders say something for political expediency, I won't comment."
Clarifying the government's stance, Union minister Jairam Ramesh said, "We brought it because it is necessary to clarify the government's stand after two high court judgments came out in recent past on this issue."