A video clip of BSP chief Mayawati is doing the rounds on social media. In the footage, she is heard telling former Vice-President and then Rajya Sabha chairperson Hamid Ansari, “The House is not functioning after 12 PM every day. You are the Chairman of the House, it is your responsibility to ensure it functions in order after 12 PM. Who will be responsible for this? You leave every day at 12 PM and the House stops being functional. Who will make arrangements for it?”

It has been claimed that Congress-nominated Vice-President Hamid Ansari used to adjourn the Rajya Sabha at 12 PM every day to offer Namaz prayers and all the members of the Parliament used to sit idle waiting for him, due to which the proceedings of the House remained closed.

Retired IAS officer and BJP supporter Surya Pratap Singh made a similar claim while sharing the video. (Archived link)

BJP supporter Jitendra Pratap Singh also amplified the clip, calling Hamid Ansari a terrorist and a ‘jihadi’ supporter and claimed that the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman used to go to the mosque every day at 12 PM to offer Namaz prayers and deliver sermons, and did not return. He added that Mayawati exposed this behaviour of his. (Archived link)

While promoting the video, Keya Ghosh, Media in-charge of BJP Bengal, and Megh Updates, a Twitter handle that often spreads misinformation online, wrote that Vice-President Hamid Ansari used to leave the Rajya Sabha every day at 12 PM for Namaz prayers. When Mayawati questioned him, he tried to divert the matter.

Fact Check

Hamid Ansari was the Vice-President of India from 2007 to 2017. Since the Vice-President is the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, it is obvious that this video must have been taken between 2007 and 2017. It is worth noting that there is no mention of ‘Namaz’ anywhere in the viral video by BSP supremo Mayawati. Alt News performed a keyword search using date filters to uncover the full context behind this video. We found an article published in the Economic Times dated December 12, 2012. According to this report, Mayawati was protesting against the repeated disturbances over the bill providing reservations in promotions for SC/ST communities in government jobs. There was a conflict between her party and the Samajwadi Party regarding this issue.

We also found a video uploaded on ABP News’ YouTube channel from December 12, 2012 (typo in original article), which contains an excerpt from Mayawati’s viral video. The title of this video reads, “Mayawati stuns Rajya Sabha, questions chairman Hamid Ansari’s absence”.

Chronology of incidents

December 11, 2012 According to a Deccan Herald report from December 11, 2012, the bill providing reservations in promotions for SC/ST in government jobs could not be introduced due to opposition from the Samajwadi Party. Though the UPA was in support of this bill, the DMK wanted to include OBCs under the provisions of the bill as well. The BJP had not made its stand clear on this issue, but the Samajwadi Party had disagreements with the BSP regarding this bill. SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav stated, “The courts have criticized this move, and if the government remains adamant on passing this bill, the courts will again reject it. We will continue to oppose this bill.” The Samajwadi Party had said that if this bill was introduced then they would disrupt the proceedings of the House daily. The SP also interrupted the proceedings of the House several times over 14 days while this issue was being discussed. Mayawati criticized the BJP for stalling the proceedings of the House and accused the Samajwadi Party of working at the behest of the BJP. She said that if the government’s perspective on this issue did not change in the following two to three days, the BSP would have to adopt a tough stance.

December 12, 2012 As per a story published on India TV’s website on December 12, 2012, BSP chief Mayawati, during the Rajya Sabha proceedings on the same day, questioned Chairman Hamid Ansari over the frequent disruptions in the House and stated, “The House is not functioning after 12 PM every day. You are the Chairman of the House, it is your responsibility to ensure it functions in order after 12 PM. Who will be responsible for this?” According to the report, due to this row, proceedings were delayed in both the Houses for the third consecutive day. Her anger was over the delay in considering the bill providing for reservations in promotions for SC/ST groups in government jobs. While the BSP was pushing for this bill, the Samajwadi Party strongly opposed it arguing that it would divide the society. Due to the chaos in the ongoing tussle over this, this bill could not be presented in the Parliament.

December 13, 2012 A report published on the India Today website on December 13, 2012 stated that then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called Vice-President Hamid Ansari to express his concern over the incident in the Rajya Sabha. Despite the insults fielded at the VP, the government and Congress had refrained from openly criticizing the BSP leader. Congress spokesperson Renuka Chaudhary had said that the attack on the Rajya Sabha chairman was saddening, but she also said that the issue of reservation for SC/STs in promotions in government jobs affected one of the largest states and the parties concerned should take note of it. They should be given the opportunity to say what they want. The Samajwadi Party said that the move to reserve SC/ST in promotion in government jobs was unconstitutional and it would deprive 80% of employees from availing job promotions. Along with this, MPs from the Samajwadi Party had threatened to disrupt the Rajya Sabha every day if necessary.

December 14, 2012 Hindustan Times reported on December 14, 2012 that Mayawati had told Chairman Hamid Ansari in the Rajya Sabha that she respected him and his position, and was confident that he would find a way to ensure the House ran smoothly and the bill was passed. She said that it was unfortunate that the bill could not be introduced in the last session or current session of Parliament due to the interruptions.

To sum it up, the comments by Mayawati in the viral video are not related to then Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari going to offer Namaz prayers at 12 PM. Neither was Mayawati questioning him on this matter. Several BJP supporters and social media users shared the video of BSP chief Mayawati with false claims.

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About the Author

Abhishek is a senior fact-checking journalist and researcher at Alt News. He has a keen interest in information verification and technology. He is always eager to learn new skills, explore new OSINT tools and techniques. Prior to joining Alt News, he worked in the field of content development and analysis with a major focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).