Trinamool no-trust motion falls flat

Opposition divided on FDI approach
Last Updated 22 November 2012, 20:29 IST

An ill-conce­ived no-confidence motion moved by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the Lok Sabha on Thursday fell through as the party failed to muster enough numbers, bringing to nought Opposition efforts to corner the government on the question of FDI in multi-brand retail.

The TMC had brought the motion to oppose the UPA government decision to bring FDI in retail, but the self goal scored by Mamata Banerjee’s party only added to the confusion in Parliament.

It began with the UPA ally SP demanding discussion on the controversial LPG cap in the Lower House. The BSP joined the din by raising the issue of reservation in promotion in government jobs in the Rajya Sabha, leading to House adjournment for an hour.

The two regional parties from UP did not express their stand on the FDI issue. A miffed BJP said that Congress’s allies were raising different issues to deflect attention and bail out the government.

After quitting the ruling alliance on September 21, the TMC, which has just 19 MPs in the Lok Sabha, wanted to move the no-confidence motion against the government, but failed miserably due to lack of the required support of 54 members in the House.

Apart from 18 of the 19 members of Mamata Banerjee’s party, only three MPs of the BJD rose in support of the no-confidence motion, which the TMC chief whip Sudip Bandopadhyay sought to move against the UPA government.

The motion said: “This House expresses want of confidence in the council of ministers over its decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail as it is going to harm millions of small businesses.”

Later, the BJP criticised the TMC for bringing the motion against the Centre without consulting the principal Opposition party and other anti-Congress parties. BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain denied that the TMC had reached out to the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.

But, Hussain conceded that his party had told TMC leaders that a common strategy on seeking a vote on the debate should be adopted to corner the government since allies like the SP and the DMK too had voiced their opinion against the new economic reform

“In our BJP and later the NDA meeting, it was decided that we would raise the demand for discussion on FDI in retail issue under Rule 184 in the Lok Sabha and similar provisions in the Rajya Sabha which entail voting,” he said.

“The government has shown disrespect to Parliament by not agreeing to a debate under this rule,” Hussain said.

The UPA government is of the view that since the FDI decision was taken through an executive order, there is no need for voting in Parliament on the matter. But, the BJP spokesperson cited examples of how during the NDA rule, they had accepted a Congress motion under rule 184 for discussing executive decision on Balco disinvestment.  

Earlier in morning, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while speaking to media persons at the Parliament Complex, urged members of the two Houses to extend their cooperation to the government, saying that the session had “a very heavy legislative agenda”.

Singh asserted that his government was ready to discuss “all issues” on the floor of both the Houses. “We all have an obligation, in opposition as well as in government, to work together to enable our parliamentary democracyto grapple with the formidable challenges facing our country,” he said.

(Published 22 November 2012, 08:02 IST)

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