A day after tirade, Mayawati assures Ansari she 'respects' him

A day after her criticism of Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, BSP chief Mayawati today changed tune to say that she had "respect" and "full faith" in the Chair and expressed hope that he will find ways for passage of the bill for quota in promotion.

Mayawati's impromptu remarks were followed by an assurance of "fullest cooperation" of the House by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as also Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley to Ansari, who yesterday had expressed difficulty in continuing in a situation where he is attacked.

PTI

"I respect you. I respect the Chair...I have full faith in the Chair that he will find a way to get the voice of the downtrodden heard," Mayawati said.

The BSP chief, who has been pushing a bill for providing for reservation to SC/ST in government job promotion, said it was "sad" that the proposed legislation could not be taken up in the last session of Parliament as well as in the current session because of frequent disruptions.

"I have full faith in you. I have full confidence that you will be able to find a way out to ensure that the House runs smoothly and the legislation is passed," she said.

Mayawati stunned the House yesterday by criticising Ansari over disruptions. She was peeved over the delay in taking up the bill for quota in promotion, which is being strongly opposed by the Samajwadi Party.

Rules do not not permit a member to question the Chair on any issue, more so on his presence or absence.

The BSP chief also requested the government, especially the Prime Minister to find a way out by talking to parties, which are obstructing the measure.

"Find a way so that the House runs smoothly and the Chair also does not face problems in running the House. I also request the Leader of the Opposition and leaders of all other parties to rise over party politics and help in the passage of the bill," she said.

The Prime Minister, who is Leader of the House, assured Ansari that the Government has "fullest faith and highest regard" for him.

"Respect for the Chairman of the House is respect for maintenance of the dignity of the House. We will work, from all sections of the House, to ensure that the Chair gets all the cooperation, all the respect that is due to you and to this august Chair," Singh said.

The Prime Minister said he agreed that "we must find ways and means of conducting the business of the House smoothly without interruption. So far Government is concerned, you have my fullest assurance in this regard."

Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said that he joins the Prime Minister in expressing "full faith" both in Ansari as a person as well as the Chair that he occupies.

"What we have seen today is really the strength of India's Parliamentary democracy where we all do believe that the credibility and dignity of the Chair is synonymous with the dignity of the House which in turn reposes popular confidence in India's democracy," Jaitley said.

He assured Ansari: "This House will speak in one voice in upholding your honour both as an individual and the also the dignity of the Chair that you occupy."

Noting that managing contradictions is the strength of India's parliamentary democracy, Jaitley said he was sure "we will successfully be able to manage those contradictions".

He assured the Chairman "this House will speak in one voice, which you represent as the Chair" as far as "credibility and respect of the House" is concerned.

Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said he echoed the sentiments expressed by the Leader of the Opposition.

An overwhelmed Ansari profusely thanked the Prime Minister, Jaitley, Mayawati and leaders of all other political parties and members of the House for the sentiments expressed.

"The Chair as always seeks the cooperation of the House for running it smoothly," he said, bringing curtains down on the controversy that had raged in Rajya Sabha yesterday.

PTI