- Mayawati was asked to cut short her talk as she had exceeded the three minutes given to her
- That annoyed her as well as the Opposition Congress and the CPM
- The BJP saw Mayawati’s threat to resign as a “challenge” to the chair.
NEW DELHI: Things took a serious turn in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday when BSP chief Mayawati said she will quit as Parliamentarian for ‘not being allowed to speak” about atrocities against Dalits and minorities.
She was backed by almost the entire Opposition – many of whom eventually walked out – but the Rajya Sabha chair PJ Kurien said that according to the rules, a Parliamentarian can only “ask for a discussion and not give a full speech”.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Mayawati had “insulted the chair” of the Rajya Sabha and must apologise.
On the second day of the monsoon session of Parliament, Mayawati attempted to discuss the recent cases of atrocities against Dalits and minorities. She also brought up the anti-Dalit violence in Saharanpur in May during the birth anniversary celebrations of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar.
“Since the time the BJP has come to power, there has been exploitation of the Dalits, the poor, minorities, and backward castes,” the BSP chief said. “The Dalits were suppressed in Saharanpur but the government did not do anything about it. No community is safe in Uttar Pradesh, but the condition of the Dalits is worse,” she said.
Before she could make much headway in discussing the issue, Mayawati was asked to cut short her talk as she had exceeded the three minutes given to her to make her submission. She didn’t like that.
“If I’m not allowed to speak right now, I will resign right away. I will come and give my resignation right now,” Mayawati said.
She argued with Kurien asking how she can be prevented from raising the issue about her ‘samaj’ (community).
“I have not finished. You cannot do this. I have no moral right to be in the House if I am not allowed to put across my views on atrocities being committed against Dalits,” said Mayawati whose term in the Rajya Sabha ends next April.
Kurien tried to placate her, reported PTI. He said she can only call for a discussion after giving a notice under rule 267, which seeks adjournment of proceedings to take up an issue and not make a speech to initiate a discussion. Then, a discussion can begin only after the Chair, on the advise of the government, accepts the notice and agrees for a discussion, Kurien said.
Mayawati wasn’t placated and other Opposition leaders, including the Congressand the Left parties, supported her vociferously.
Congress leader and leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Opposition is being “gagged” and not being allowed to discuss the “discrimination” being faced by Dalits and minorities.
“We have moved a notice for farmers, Dalits and minorities and the government is gagging us…If the Opposition wants to raise issues about who are downtrodden, it must be allowed to. Does the BJP thinks it has a mandate to discriminate against minorities and the poor,” asked Azad.
The Congress leader also took a jab at the ruling BJP and at PM Modi who yesterday hoped for a “cooperative” monsoon session.“If the ruling party allows us to have debates, we will be more than happy to cooperate and help pass important bills and legislations,” Azad quipped.
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury also came out in support of Mayawati.
“The points she’s made are serious. This government is doing nothing about atrocities against Dalits and minorities. They are in serious danger,” Yechury said.
The BJP saw Mayawati’s threat as a “challenge” to the chair.