House logjam over FDI continues

The BJP rejection of the government proposal was conveyed to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee when he met BJP veteran L K Advani. Mukherjee told Advani that the government was prepared for a “one-line” adjournment motion. The BJP, which is adamant on a rollback of the FDI decision, rejected it.

The two Houses of Parliament have witnessed no official “business transaction” since November 22 when the winter session began. From Monday onwards, the war is over the FDI, with a determined Opposition set to outsmart the government demanding a rollback or acceptance of an adjournment motion which stipulates censure of the government. With numbers staked against them, the government is wary of a voting on the issue.

The lone positive point for the ruling UPA on Wednesday was  the support from its ally DMK. This came after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to leaders of the DMK and Trinamool. The DMK told the prime minister that it would not vote against the government.

But the Trinamool Congress, the party led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,  still opposes the FDI decision. Wednesday witnessed hectic activities around Parliament. Mukherjee, seated next to party president Sonia Gandhi, explained to the Congress Parliament Party (CPP) meeting the reasons behind the government decision on the FDI.

Mukherjee, the Congress's known troubleshooter, held a brief meeting with party president Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence before talking to party MPs to allay their apprehensions on the decision. After Parliament was adjourned, top leaders of the Congress, including Manmohan Singh and Gandhi, went into a huddle to discuss how to resolve the crisis.

This was followed by another meeting of the core committee in the late evening. Senior ministers Mukherjee, A K Antony, P Chidambaram and Congress General Secretary Ahmed Patel also attended the meeting. Another meeting of the CPP will be held on Thursday.

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