Congress hopes parliament will debate FDI in retail

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 26, 2012 15:30 hrs

New Delhi, Nov 26 (IANS) The Congress Monday expressed hope that a debate on FDI in retail would take place and parliament would run smoothly.

"We hope the debate will take place and parliament would run," Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit told reporters after an all−party meeting failed to resolve the logjam over the issue.

Parliament did not run for third day in succession in the winter session, which started Nov 22, over FDI in retail with both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left parties remaining adamant on a debate under Rule 184, which entails voting.

The Congress was satisfied that most parties at the all−party meeting wanted the speaker to decide the rule under which a debate on the issue could take place.

"We are satisfied that most parties wanted the speaker to decide on the rule of the debate," said Dikshit. "We all should accept the Speaker's decision."

According to Dikshit, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, DMK and the Trinamool Congress said they wanted the speaker to decide on the rule of the debate.

He said only the BJP−led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Left wanted a debate under Rule 184, which entails voting and appealed to them to support the speaker's decision.

Congress sources said Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar was likely to take a decision on the notices given by the BJP and the Left parties by Friday and a debate without a vote could start by Monday next week.

Though the government is not in a danger as the FDI in retail is not a financial issue, a defeat in the vote would come as a political embarrassment for it.

Congress sources said the UPA government was confident of winning a vote but did not want to agree to it as the move would set a wrong precedent.

"If we agree to a debate on FDI in multi−brand retail under 184, it would open all future decisions taken by the government of the day to be challenged by the opposition in parliament," said a Congress leader.

The government said it was ready for a debate.

"Government is open for a discussion on the issue of FDI in multi−brand retail. The primary concern is that the house must be allowed to function," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said before the meeting.

However, a section of Congress leaders said if a vote did eventually happen, the SP, BSP and DMK could support the government by abstaining.

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