Congress confident of surviving FDI vote
While the Congress was confident of having the numbers and Mayawati kept the people guessing, the Left alleged “horse-trading.”
Meanwhile, the Congress has issued a whip to party MPs regarding their presence in the Lok Sabha on December 4 and 5, when the issue is slated to be debated and voted.
Addressing a press conference, Mayawati hinted that the BSP may eventually side with the government on the contentious issue. “We will take a decision at the time of voting. We have to decide whether we will stand beside communal forces or otherwise,” she said.
In a detailed statement, Mayawati rejected the government’s claims that FDI in retail will boost the country’s sagging economy and lower the price of commodities. It will adversely affect the farmers and traders instead, she said. “The one positive aspect of this policy is that it is not being imposed on the states. They are free to implement or discard it,” the BSP supremo added. “I will suggest that it should be first implement in the Congress-ruled states and then take a decision after considering experience of these states.”
The Samajwadi Party, the BSP’s political rival in Uttar Pradesh, opposes FDI but has not yet opened its cards.
Meanwhile, the CPM rejected Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamalnath’s view that the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) notification dealing with FDI need not be passed in both Houses. Kamalnath had contended on Sunday that it need not be passed by the Rajya Sabha.
“Section 48 of FEMA clearly says it has to be tabled and passed by both Houses,” CPM leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters. He said the government may have to face voting thrice because if an MP moves an amendment to the FEMA notification, it will be put on vote and 30 more working days will be allotted, Yechury said. In response, Kamalnath on Monday said: “If required, we will pass it in both Houses.”
The Left also alleged “horse trading.” “Let us see what Mulayam and Mayawati do. Mayawati says she is opposed to the policy and Mulayam even came to jail with us. But in Parliament we will see what they eventually do,” Yechury said at a convention against FDI in retail organised by the CPM, CPI, Forward Block and RSP.
“The government accepted voting after five days. They needed five days for arranging votes. If parties like the SP, TDP and JD(S), who were with us on the streets to protest, also vote against FDI, the government will be defeated,” he said.
Prakash Karat, AB Bardhan, and D Raja threatened that Wall Mart will not be allowed to open shop in the country.
Meanwhile, think tank PRS Legislative Research said it will hold a close door interactive session, exclusively for MPs, on FDI issue on Tuesday morning before a parliamentary debate begins.