On Board Air India One: The government is "fully prepared" to counter the opposition onslaught in parliament over the FDI issue and is confident of the support of its allies, including those who supported UPA−I.
Stating this to journalists returning with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from his visit to Phnom Penh, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said: "Stability is an imperative and all the allies of the UPA are clear on that issue."
Sounding confident about countering the opposition, especially with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee threatening to move a no−confidence motion in the parliament session beginning Nov 22, Sharma said: "It is the job of the opposition to oppose... Let them bring the issue to parliament, the government is fully prepared to counter it."
Asked if the UPA would manage to bring around some of its allies, like the DMK and Samajwadi Party which have voiced open reservations against the economic move, Sharma said the government was confident that allies of the UPA−I and UPA−II "will continue to support the government when it comes to larger interest and to keep at bay those forces who have a clearly a partisan agenda on this critical issue".
The Left parties were supporting the UPA−I and have not responded to Banerjee's call to support her no−confidence move against the government. The Trinamool chief, whose party routed the Left bastion in West Bengal last year and rules that state, has also said that her party was willing to support the Left in case it decides to bring a no confidence move against the government, but the Left parties have not responded so far.
However, he acknowledged that there could be differences in perceptions and approach to the contentious issue of FDI in multi−brand retail, over which the Tinamool walked out of the government in September.
"We remain confident that UPA will hold strong. Yes, there could be differences in perception and different approach. Stability is an imperative and there is no doubt that all our allies are clear on that issue," he said.
He said that differences of opinion "should not be misconstrued as a situation that is pregnant with instability...."
He said the decision on FDI was taken after talks with all stakeholders and though a consultative process.
"We will effectively answer our opponents," he said.