Congress ready for no confidence motion
"We are ready to debate the FDI issue in parliament but without a vote. We are ready for a no-confidence vote as well," said a Congress leader who did not wish to be named.
The mood in the Congress camp indicated that the party has decided not to accept the Communist Party of India-Marxist's (CPI-M) demand of a debate on foreign equity in multi-brand retail under Rule 184, which entails voting.
Congress sources added the no-confidence motion's chances are dim due to the lack of unity among opposition parties.
"We will handle the situation on the floor of the house," said the Congress leader.
Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit said: "When it comes to a vote of confidence, we are totally confident we have the numbers. hen our strength will be tested, we will pass."
CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat said: "There was a general consensus among the opposition parties that a no-confidence motion against the UPA will not be useful at this stage as the government has the numbers."
Karat said the defeat of a no-confidence motion would be seen by the government as an endorsement of its policies by the parliament.
"We want a debate with voting on the move to bring foreign equity in multi-brand retail trade to corner the government," he said.
Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had appealed the Left parties and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to support her move.
The Congress ridiculed banerjee saying she should be more "reasonable".
"This is a peculiar situation that in the history of parliament a 19-member party is talking of a no-confidence motion," Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters.
However, Congress sources said informal discussions were on with Banerjee. At least 50 members need to back a no-confidence motion before it can be accepted for a debate in the Lok Sabha.
Tewari asked Banerjee to introspect her decision reminding her that she was part of the United Progressive Alliance government just three months ago.
"I hope she will introspect and reconsider her decision seriously because till three months back she was part of this government and Trinamool Congress ministers were part of it," he said.
"A time comes when you have to evolve from a street fighter to a statesperson. You have to evolve from an agitator to an administrator. I hope the chief minister will seriously introspect her decision," Tewari said.
"We will see what can be done to put the government in the dock," BJP leader Balbir Punj said.