FDI in Retail
Agencies, New Delhi/Chennai
With its key ally DMK announcing that it will support the government in voting for the contentious FDI in multi-brand retail in Parliament, a confident Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asserted that UPA has the numbers.
“Yes, we are confident of numbers,” the Prime Minister told reporters after an hour-long meeting of UPA leaders.
In Chennai, DMK President M Karunanidhi said the party has ‘with bitterness’ decided to vote for the ruling dispensation if there was voting on the contentious FDI in multi-brand retail in Parliament ‘to avoid destabilising the government and prevent the ‘communal BJP’ from coming to power at the Centre.’ The Prime Minister was commenting on stalemate in Parliament over FDI issue leading to adjournment of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for the fourth day in a row since the winter session began on November 22.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath also said the UPA was intact and it had been left to the Speaker to decide under which rule the discussion should take place. He said the Congress was not averse to voting. After yesterday’s all-party meeting and other developments, it was clear that the SP and BSP, the parties supporting the Government from outside, would not create any trouble for it but the DMK’s stand was not so clear. But today’s statement by the DMK chief has cleared the clouds for the UPA.
‘The UPA is fully united on any decision of the Speaker and the Government…all constituents are firmly behind the Government,’ Mr Kamal Nath said after the meeting.
Referring to yesterday’s all-party meeting, he said, ‘Larger number were in favour of discussion to be decided by the Speaker.’
He said this was discussed today and he will meet the Speaker to convey the sense of yesterday’s meeting.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who is also Leader of the Lok Sabha, said, ‘By Monday, everything would be decided and everything would be settled.’
UPA met a day after the all-party meeting convened by the Government to break the logjam.
It was attended by the Prime Minister, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Defence Minister A K Antony, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, RLD’s Ajit Singh, DMK’s T R Baalu, NCP’s Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and E Ahamed of Indian Union Muslim League) among others.
Congress managed numbers: BJP
New Delhi: Accusing the Congress of ‘managing’ the support using ‘instruments’, the BJP today demanded that the UPA government allow discussion and voting in Parliament on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail when it has numbers.
“The Prime Minister has been saying that he has numbers. The Congress government is using instruments (in an indirect reference to the CBI) for making negative into positive. Why the Prime Minister delayed this ‘jugaad’ (management) for four days.
“Now if the UPA has numbers then the BJP demands that the government allow discussion and voting under Rule 184 on Friday,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told a news conference on the Parliament premises.
“Yes, we are confident of numbers,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters after an hour-long meeting with leaders of the UPA.
Mr Hussain said the BJP wanted voting on retail FDI to ‘expose’ parties who had participated in Bharat Bandh in September against the government’s decision allowing 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail but ‘now has come to a rescue for the government’.