M A I N   N E W S

Govt buys peace with Yadavs
Offers consultation on Bill; LS resumes after 3 days of disruption
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 11
Ruckus over the Women’s Reservation Bill ended today after the government bought peace with the Yadavs, assuring them of consultations with “all concerned” before the Bill was brought to the Lok Sabha. Peace made, the agitating Yadav trio allowed the House to run for the first time in three days, as discussions on the Union Budget commenced. They also “put on hold” their decision to withdraw outside support to the UPA, citing its irrelevance.

Back in the Lok Sabha, proceedings resumed only after two disruptions, with the SP, RJD and JDU again storming the well of the House, seeking the withdrawal of women’s Bill and the revocation of suspension of their RS colleagues.

Soon as the House adjourned for the second time at 12 noon, UPA chief Sonia Gandhi was seen gesturing to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to call the Yadavs for a meeting. She specially mentioned JDU chief Sharad Yadav, who looked too happy with himself.

The offer of talks came when the House reassembled at 2 pm, following a meeting between Pranab and anti-quota leaders Lalu Prasad of RJD, Mulayam Singh of SP and Sharad Yadav of JDU. Also present were NCP president Sharad Pawar and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, who has been demanding a minority quota in the legislation.

“During the meeting, some assurance was sought on the progress of the Constitution Amendment Bill before bringing it to the Lok Sabha. The government will complete the process of consultations with all concerned,” Pranab later told Lok Sabha, where order was finally restored.

Earlier in the morning too, Pranab had made an unsuccessful attempt to pacify the Yadavs, saying the Bill could be debated and decided by the House and its 543 members. He said there was no harm in calling an all-party meeting but recalled how past attempts, during the time of NDA and UPA-I to converge views on the subject, had failed. Pranab’s major concern — the transaction of financial business — reflected in his requests to the leaders to let the House function. “Nothing can be achieved by stalling business. Let the House complete financial business,” FM said after Lalu, Mulayam and Sharad Yadav had voiced concerns on the Bill. Speaker Meira Kumar had stalled the question hour for half an hour to allow them to speak.

And Lalu did his bit in style, lacing serious concerns over the Bill with his trademark humour. “I am not new in politics. Par yeh naya pyaz kha rahen hain (they are tasting onion only now). They will shed tears later,” he told the Congress, daring it to provide quota in the law for Rahul Gandhi’s Dalit icon Kalawati, Muslims and OBCs. “Jin beti ke ghar gaye the, unke liye hum keh rahe hain (I am speaking for Kalawati, whose house Rahul visited),” said Lalu, further embarrassing the UPA by praising Mamata for supporting the sub-quota cause.

Mulayam and Sharad Yadav also made similar appeals, with the latter issuing another threat today: “Bring the law without a whip. If 70 per cent MPs don’t vote against it, I’ll resign from Lok Sabha and go.” As he said this, one was reminded of his last threat: “Like Socrates, I will consume poison if the Bill comes.” 



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