Mamata calls on Sushma as Congress boasts of thwarting no-trust move
TMC chief’s opposition to FDI is correct stand, says BJP
Even as the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Sunday sought the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) help to move a no-confidence motion against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, the ruling Congress put up a brave front and claimed to have the support of 305 MPs in the House.
TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called upon the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj on Sunday seeking the BJP’s support to move the no-confidence motion.
The TMC quit the UPA on September 21 over the government’s decision to open up the multi-brand retail sector for foreign capital and to put a cap on usage of subsidised cooking gas cylinders.
The regional party is now set to move a no-confidence motion against the government on the issue during the winter session of Parliament commencing on Thursday.
The TMC has 19 MPs in the Lok Sabha, but it needs support of at least 50 MPs to move the motion.
However, the BJP remained non-committal and is likely to take a call on the TMC’s plea during its parliamentary board meet on Tuesday.
Talking to journalists in Kolkata, veteran BJP MP Murli Manohar Joshi termed Banerjee’s opposition to the issue of FDI in retail as “correct stand”, but refrained from committing his party’s support to the TMC.
“TMC does not have the numbers and will depend on other parties. Despite that if the TMC leadership decides to go ahead, they should be prepared for whatever the consequences may be,” Joshi said. The Congress on Sunday accused Banerjee of getting closer to the BJP as well as her arch-rival, the left parties, over the issue.
“When a party like the TMC, which has 19 MPs in the House, announces to bring no-confidence motion, it shows its closeness not only to the BJP, but also to the CPI(M). But, it will be defeated by 305 Members,” Shakeel Ahmed, a permanent invitee in the Congress Working Committee said in Ranchi.
Ahmed, who oversees the Congress’s affairs in West Bengal said, though the UPA needed 272 votes to win any trial of strength in the 543 member Lok Sabha, it had the support of at least 305 MPs. He apparently took into account the MPs of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Janata Dal (Secular), which the Congress looks forward to for support to defeat any motion.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M Karunanidhi has continued to maintain “suspense” over the governments decision on FDI in retail and cap on subsidised LPG cylinders. The DMK had earlier expressed reservations over the issue. The Congress is also banking on the support of the DMK, its second largest ally.
The government too toughened its stand on the contentious issue of FDI in retail with the Commerce and Industries Minister stating that the decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail was “cast in stone” and a roll back was out of question.
He also said the Government would rather prepare to face any challenge in Parliament. Sharma said a government could not be expected to have “vetting of its policy and endorsement of executive decisions either by ideological opponents, some of whom have blinkers on or those who have a partisan agenda.”
However, support trickled in for Banerjee from unexpected quarters when the CPI(M) MP Gurudas Dasgupta said: “We will not take responsibility to save the government if a no-confidence motion is admitted in Parliament. We will not walk out, we will vote against the government.”