TMC, BSP and SP not to oppose govt's proposal on FDI
The UPA managed to isolate the BJP, JD(U), Left Front and the AIADMK, all of whom are in favour of voting after discussion on FDI.
New Delhi: In a major relief for the embattled Congress-led UPA, the Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party have decided against opposing the Central Government's proposal for discussion without voting on foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail in Parliament. At the all-party meeting in New Delhi on Monday where Parliament deadlock over FDI in retail was the focus, the UPA managed to isolate the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Janata Dal(United), Left Front and the AIADMK all of whom are in favour of voting after discussion on the issue.
The government's trouble shooters at the all-party meet managed to convince most of the parties to go for only discussion on FDI and let Parliament function, effectively ending the debate over the numbers backing the government in Parliament, particularly the Lok Sabha where the UPA is now in minority.
Apart from the BJP, JD(U), Left Front and AIADMK, all the other parties who wanted a debate only if it entailed voting have agreed to the government's proposal for a discussion on FDI which was seen as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath's first major challenge. "We have had useful discussion. All parties say House must run. I have appealed to those who wanted discussion under Rule 184 to reconsider their decision. I will speak to the presiding officers," said Nath.
Crucially, the Trinamool Congress has agreed to a debate without voting, despite being one of the most vocal critics of FDI and UPA's economic reforms measures.
"We want to leave the decision to the Speaker. The BJP didn't support us on no-confidence," said Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandopadhyaya.
Two parties - BSP and Samajwadi Party - who have a large contingent of MPs and can come to the rescue of the UPA have also said that the decision should be made by the presiding officers of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on the issue, effectively allowing the Congress to dictate matters. The DMK, which is a crucial ally of the Congress, has conveyed its concern over FDI but is not keen on voting.
Other than the BJP, only its Bihar partner, the JD(U), the Left Front and the AIADMK have demanded a vote on the issue. The Winter Session of Parliament remained deadlocked for the third day on Monday over the issue.
"We made it clear that its a vote related discussion that we will accept. There will be no compromise at all," said BJP leader Sushma Swaraj.
The support of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has come on one condition. They want the government to bring the quota bill before the FDI. Mayawati has asked for a commitment from the government on the passage of the bill that provides for SC/ST reservation in promotion in government jobs.
"The SC/ST quota bill has been pending for long time. We have been raising this issue for a long time inside as well as outside Parliament. BSP wants Parliament to function and FDI should be discussed. The rule under which discussion on FDI takes place should be decided by the Speaker in the Lok Sabha and the Chairperson in the Rajya Sabha," Mayawati said.
The numbers in Parliament:
UPA in Lok Sabha - 252
CONG - 204 (Including two nominated members from Anglo-Indian community)
DMK - 18
NCP - 9
RLD - 5
NC - 3
Others - 9
Independent MPs - 4 (Only those who have given letters of support)
10 others formally supporting UPA?
IUML - 2
AIMM - 1
AIUDF - 1
BPF - 1
Kerala Cong - 1
SDF - 1
VCK - 1
SWP - 1
BVA - 1
Outside support to UPA - 50
BSP - 21
SP - 22
RJD - 4
JDS - 3
NDA IN LOK SABHA - 151
BJP - 114
JDU - 20
SS - 11
SAD - 4
JMM - 2
Left, TMC and Others - 87
LEFT - 24 (CPM 16, CPI 4, FORWARD BLOCK 2, RSP 2)
TMC - 19
BJD - 14
ADMK - 9
TDP - 6
JVM - 2
Others - 13 (INCLUDES TRS - 2, YSR CONG - 2, AGP - 1, MDMK - 1, HJC - 1, NPF - 1 AND INDEPENDENTS - 5 ,MIM-1)