SP, BSP hold key to UPA win in RS

After the high-voltage debate in the Lok Sabha over FDI in multi-brand retail, it is over to the Raja Sabha where the ruling UPA government is in a minority.

However, with the alliance managers working over time the Manmohan Singh government could get the right number again with the help of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party.

Parliamentary Affairs minister Kamal Nath is confident of a victory in the Upper House even as the Opposition raised fears if the debate would be allowed at all. And that the FDI issue may meet Lokpal Bill fate which ended without voting  amid chaotic scenes on the last working day of 2011 in the House. The House has never functioned even for one full working day properly since the winter session kicked off on November 23.

Opposition Leader Arun Jaitley, accusing the government of engineering trouble, feared
whether the House would be allowed to function at all. “It depends on the government and its allies. The genuine opposition has been conducting itself peacefully. This government will go for vote only when they are certain of success; as of now the numbers are loaded against it,” he said.

Sounding confident, Kamal Nath said: “It’s true that our numbers are less in Rajya Sabha but we are fully confident that we will win there as well...”

The motion would be taken up under rules 167-168, which entail voting. The government needs the support of 123 members in the 244-member House to defeat the motion brought by the opposition. The UPA, nominated members, independents besides outside supporters add up to a total of 103.

Among the anti-FDI group, the BJP-led NDA has a strength of 65, the Left parties have 14 members and Trinamool Congress 9, Biju Janata Dal (7), Asom Gana Parishad (2), AIADMK (5) and Telugu Desam Party (5) and others.  The total number of this group goes up to 110. Thus, the BSP (15) and SP (9) again are crucial for the government to survive the vote like in the Lok Sabha.

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