Anand faces privilege motion notice in RS

Commerce ministers stand on FDI irks BJP

BJP MPs Prakash Javadekar and Rajiv Pratap Rudy have submitted to the Rajya Sabha chairman a breach of privilege notice against Union Minister Anand Sharma, who had assured the House that all stakeholders would be consulted before a decision is taken on the FDI issue.

The two Rajya Sabha MPs submitted the notice to Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who is the ex-officio chairperson of the Upper House, pointing out that Commerce and Industries Minister Sharma had given the assurance on December 7, 2011, sources said.

BJP maintains that despite making this promise in both Houses of Parliament, the government went ahead unilaterally to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail.

“Mr Chairman, sir, the government has taken a view that the decision to permit 51 per cent Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail trade is suspended till a consensus is developed for consultations among various stakeholders,” Sharma had said in the Rajya Sabha, according to the minutes of the proceedings.The same assurance was given by then Leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee in the Lower House on the same day.

BJP will raise the FDI issue in both Houses of Parliament on Thursday and insists that a discussion be held under provisions which entail voting. Other Opposition parties, including the Left, have also spoken on the same lines.

“Sir, as the Hon’ble Leader of Opposition and hon. members have asked, it is very clear that this policy, the enabling policy framework, is such that the states have a discretion. Therefore, when we say consultation with the stakeholders, that include chief minister and states, and it certainly does not exclude, but includes, the political parties,” Sharma had said in the House. The two MPs are learnt to have alleged that this assurance was not kept and this amounts to a breach of privilege. If the Chairman admits the notice then it would be sent to the Privileges Committee for further action.

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