DMK wavers on FDI in retail

Last Updated 14 November 2012, 20:19 IST

The DMK, a key Congress ally, is all set to kick-start back-channel talks to gauge the mood of other major political parties in Parliament in the coming winter session before finalising its floor strategy on the contentious issue of allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.

Also the BJP-headed NDA and the CPI-M on Wednesday renewed their stand of opposing the multi-brand retail sector for foreign investments. 

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerji had also earlier stated that her party will bring in no confidence motion against the government on the FDI issue. Though the DMK is firmly opposed to the policy and feels it should not be allowed to go through as it threatens to “deeply hurt” the majority of small and medium traders, party MPs feel that the floor strategy in Parliament could be fine-tuned only after knowing the ‘mind’ of other parties.

 DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi told reporters here on Wednesday that the party while ensuring that the interests of small traders does not suffer at any cost, would still need to discuss with its (DMK) parliamentary party members before taking a final call.

 Karunanidhi’s first remarks to media on Wednesday prompted a reporter to say it “smacked of suspense”. “I have written scripts for over 100 films; only a film with suspense does well at the box-office,” Karunanidhi quipped. But to a related query, he discounted the ‘suspense part’, affirming that the small traders’ interest was the DMK’s utmost concern. A senior party functionary and DMK MP, who did not wish to be quoted, told Deccan Herald that “we have to consider certain things”, vis-à-vis motions proposed to be brought before Parliament against FDI in multi-brand retail.

The doubts relate to major Opposition parties, which may oppose the policy but “still choose to refrain from voting”, to avert a greater crisis for the Central Government.  In that case, the DMK’s options get all the more harder, he noted.

 The Congress is puttinga brave front with two UP regional parties, the SP and the BSP, in their kitty.

The BJP will hold a meeting of the NDA partners to work out a strategy a day before Parliament session starts on November 22.  The entire session of Parliament was virtually washed out owing to BJP’s stiff stand on seeking Prime Minister’s resignation for his alleged involvement in Coalgate scam.

"We would like to put the government on the mat on this issue. In November 2011, the then finance minister had announced in the Lok Sabha that a decision on FDI in multi-brand retail will be taken only after consulting all concerned sections. A similar statement was made by the then Commerce Minister in the Rajya Sabha," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

Though the BJP accused the UPA of violating the promise given in Parliament, it did  not commit whether the party will move a no confidence motion against the government as the NDA will have to assess the numbers and seek support of other parties before taking the decisive step.

The CPI(M) on Wednesday swung into action and submitted notices in both the Houses seeking a discussion on the FDI issue under rules entailing voting.

"In both the Houses, the CPI(M) members have given the notices and we wish to take this up for a proper discussion under rules which will entail voting," senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury informed the reporters.

Yechury has signed the notice sent to the Rajya Sabha, while his colleague Basudev Acharia did that in the Lok Sabha.

Three leaders of the BJP and one each from the JD(U) and the TMC have also tabled notices separately .

(Published 14 November 2012, 11:04 IST)

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