NDA joins CPI (M) in seeking vote on FDI in retail

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 20, 2012 18:27 hrs

New Delhi/Kolkata: The winter session of parliament is slated for a stormy start with the NDA joining CPI−M in seeking discussion on FDI in multi−brand retail under rules that entail voting and Trinamool Congress insisting that it will go ahead with a no confidence motion against the UPA government.

The Congress−led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, however, said it had majority and would establish this on the floor of the house if needed.

It also countered opposition plans to demand voting on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail and said there was no precedent of a policy decision being challenged in the Lok Sabha.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led−National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which met here Tuesday to discuss the agenda for the winter session beginning Nov 22, said the government had violated its solemn assurance to the two houses of parliament to keep the decision of FDI in retail in abeyance till a consensus is arrived after consultations with political parties and state governments.

"The NDA will move a resolution under voting provisions seeking to disapprove of the government's decision and urging the government to withdraw the decision," BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

He appealed to parties which supported the call for a 'Bharat Bandh' (nationwide shutdown) against FDI in retail to cooperate in the disapproval of this decision.

DMK, a constituent of the UPA government, had extended support to the shutdown against FDI in retail in September.

Samajwadi Party, an outside supporter of the UPA, has also opposed the decision on FDI.

The Communist Party of India−Marxist (CPI−M) has already given notices in the two houses of parliament seeking discussion on FDI in retail under rules that entail voting.

Prasad said the NDA would bring a resolution.

The NDA, however, was cautious about Trinamool Congress' plans to bring a no confidence motion though it said the government had failed on all fronts and "time has come for it to go."

Prasad said NDA would consult all the parties to explore the possibility of a no confidence motion.

Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee is insistent on bringing the motion and said in Kolkata Tuesday that her party was willing to support such a motion by Left parties.

"This is a question of the interest of the country. The CPI−M has said it won't support the (no−confidence) motion. I urge them to introduce the motion themselves," Banerjee, also the West Bengal chief minister, said.

"I'm willing to go to Alimuddin Street (CPI−M headquarters) and talk to (Left Front chairman) Biman Bose on the issue," said Banerjee, whose party is stoutly opposed to the Left in West Bengal.

However, unlike the CPI−M, Communist Party of India (CPI) has said his party would back the move in the Lok Sabha.

Banerjee reiterated that her party would not back out from its promise of bringing the no confidence motion on the first day of the winter session of parliament.

Trinamool withdrew from the UPA in September in protest against the hike in fuel prices and the decision to allow FDI in retail.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said UPA said Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar would decide on the demand for voting on FDI in retail.

"The speaker will decide on the issue in the business advisory committee meeting with other parties on the issues to be taken up," Nath said.

He said there was no precedent of a policy framework being challenged in the parliament.

On Trinamool's plans for a no confidence motion, he said the government had a majority.

Taking a dig at Banerjee, Nath said: "I have not heard in 32 years of my political career that a party with 19 members is saying it would move a no confidence motion."

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