- Mayawati’s term in the Rajya Sabha was set to end next April
- She quit the Rajya Sabha, furious at not being allowed to speak for longer than three minutes
- ‘It is not good that I cannot speak in the House on issues close to me,’ she said
Her term in the Rajya Sabha was set to end next April.
The BSP chief’s shock resignation from the upper house of Parliament came on Tuesday, when she quit, furious at not being allowed to speak for longer than three minutes. She said she was ‘not being allowed to speak” about atrocities against Dalits and minorities.
On the second day of the monsoon session of Parliament, Mayawati attempted to discuss the recent cases of lynchings and violence 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.
“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.
“If I’m not allowed to speak right now, I will resign right away. I will come and give my resignation right now,” Mayawati threatened, before she actually went ahead and quit later that day.
Rajya Sabha chair PJ Kurien tried to placate her. He said that according to the rules, a Parliamentarian can only “ask for a discussion and not give a full speech”. He said she can only call for a discussion after giving a notice under rule 267, which seeks an 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 Congress and the Left parties, supported her vociferously.The BSP chief nevertheless quit on Tuesday evening.