Parliament logjam: Government may agree to adjournment motion

Parliament logjam: Government may agree to adjournment motion

Though the government has not yet held any back-channel talks with the opposition parties on this offer, particularly with principal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), sources in the ruling Congress indicated that the government may concede on the adjournment motion, but roll-back was not possible.

"The government appears to be open to a debate on the foreign direct investment in retail issue, but a roll-back of the decision is unlikely," Congress sources told IANS here.

The BJP too seemed amiable to the idea of an adjournment motion and a debate in parliament.

"The government has two options. They can roll-back the decision and start a debate on either price rise or black money, or they can accept the adjournment motion on the FDI issue in parliament. If the motion fails in the house, then they can go forward with the decision," Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said here.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, another senior BJP leader, said: "Going by what was expressed in the all-party meeting, the sense of house is against it (FDI)."

The BJP leaders said the United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) constituents Trinamool Congress, DMK and the Muslim League too were against FDI.

However, Sushma Swaraj insisted that they will not negotiate on the text of adjournment motion.

She also backed the Left parties' view, as expressed by Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury, that the government was trying to drag the issue and have the parliament disrupted more, as it wants to buy time on the Lokpal bill.

The cabinet decision to allow 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 percent in single brand retail has triggered protests by almost the entire opposition and key allies of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), who are demanding a rollback.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who addressed a Youth Congress convention here, sounded firm on the government decision, saying it was not taken in a hurry but a considered policy that will bring jobs and other benefits to the people.

Earlier in the day, an all-party meeting convened by the government on the matter ended in a stalemate, with the government, led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee failing to convince leaders of BJP, the Left, AIADMK, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party.

By evening, though, there were conciliatory notes from both the Congress and the BJP on the issue.

It may not be the opposition parties, but Congress' allies like the Trinamool Congress and DMK in the United Progressive Alliance, who may give headache to the government, as they remain firm in their opposition to the cabinet decision.

Trinamool Congress sources told IANS that the party had conveyed its mind to the government in clear cut terms on reversing the cabinet decision. But they also made it known that the party may not withdraw support to the UPA government.

A Trinamool leader, however, refused to buy the government argument that the cabinet decision provides for a 30 percent mandatory procurement from India-only small and medium enterprises.