After its last minute U-turn that helped the UPA government secure parliamentary nod to the FDI policy, Mayawati’s BSP is seeking its pound of flesh by pressurising the Congress leadership to get the SC/ST quota in promotion bill immediately passed in the Rajya Sabha.
The government, however, is in a fix on bringing this constitutional amendment bill, given that its other key outside supporter, Samajwadi Party (SP), is vehemently opposed to the move.
On the pretext of evolving a political consensus on the contentious issue, the Congress leadership is seeking to buy time by proposing another all-party meeting on the reservation issue. If all parties agree, the meeting would be held early next week.
Though UPA managers are in regular touch with BSP and SP leaders, the possibility of bringing the arch-rivals on the same page appeared remote, with both parties hardening their respective positions.
While Mayawati wants to strengthen her core constituency, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is trying to consolidate anti-backward voters in UP.
“Several all-party meetings have already been held. It will be meaningless to have another one. Our demand is that the bill be immediately brought before parliament,” senior BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra told Hindustan Times.
Mayawati is expected to take a call once she receives the proposal by Monday. BSP's bitter political rival, SP, too made its intentions clear. “We will oppose the bill tooth and nail. We will never allow this bill to be passed in parliament,” SP leader Naresh Agarwal said.
Given the recent open bickering between the BJP and BSP during the FDI debate, the main opposition party may remain ambivalent on the quota bill.
Meanwhile, facing criticism for rescuing the government on the FDI issue, the BSP said on Friday that it voted with UPA in Rajya Sabha, as the government's defeat would have provided an opportunity to the Opposition to “play politics”.