Quota Bill row: Congress downplays Mulayam's warning to UPA

New Delhi, Dec 17 (ANI): Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla on Monday downplayed Mulayam Singh Yadav's threat that the Samajwadi Party (SP) would review its stand on supporting the Congress-led UPA Government from outside if the bill seeking to provide quota for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in promotions in government jobs is passed.

"We will talk with Mulayam Singhji and the other Samajwadi Party leaders. We are in touch with them. And we don't want to comment on them," he told mediapersons outside the Parliament here.

Mulayam Singh Yadav has termed the proposed legislation on SC/ST quota in promotion to be anti-national.

"If voting is done on the Bill in the House, I will reconsider my party's support to the government. We will review party's outside support to the government. The bill is anti-national and will divide the people. My party has opposed the bill inside and outside the House and will continue its opposition," he said last week.

With Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) withdrawing its support, the UPA II Government at the Centre has just over 250 MPs in the Lok Sabha.

The Samajwadi Party with 22 MPs provide outside support to the UPA.

Meanwhile, Shukla confirmed that voting on the Quota Bill would be held in the Rajya Sabha today.

"Voting will be held today because a discussion on it was almost done that day, but there are around 10 to 12 speakers left. Thereafter, the voting will take place. The provisions in the bill would not harm any caste or class. Only 22 percent SC/ST reservation will be there in promotions," said Shukla.

"Moreover, the ECR clause, which was emerging as a problem, has also been dropped. The competence and merit of an individual will also be considered in promotion and I don't think anyone should object to it now," he added.

To a poser on the voting procedure, Shukla said: "The voting is a constitutional. So, half of the members need to be present in the house and it needs to be passed with 2/3rd majority."

Minister of State in Prime Minister's office, V Narayanasamy, introduced the Quota Bill in the Rajya Sabha earlier on Thursday.

The bill that seeks to provide reservation in government jobs for SC/STs resulted in chaos inside the Parliament last week with unruly scenes and disruptions being witnessed in the Rajya Sabha, including a walkout by the Samajwadi Party.

The Quota Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in the Monsoon Session, but could not be taken up due to disruption on coal block issue.

Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party has been demanding that the bill be passed, but the Samajwadi Party (SP) is opposing it. (ANI)

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