New Delhi: Asserting that there is no compulsion for implementing FDI in retail and states are free to decide on it, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday urged all political parties to vote against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"The issue of FDI is decided in the states. It is left to the states to decide. When Parliament cannot decide the applicability of FDI in states then what is left? It is only the politics of the BJP. So, I am urging and appealing to all political parties to vote against them to condemn the politics of the BJP and that will be demonstrated in the voting results today," said Nath.
"When Sushmaji wants to convince us or defeat us, she will be defeated today," he added, when asked to comment on Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj's statement during the FDI debate that the BJP did not want the government to be defeated, but wanted to convince it to rollback its decision of FDI in the retail sector.
Swaraj, who initiated a discussion on FDI in Lok Sabha under rule 184, yesterday charged the government with not consulting all stakeholders despite the assurances made to the Parliament.
Citing international examples of other countries, Swaraj alleged that the decision will create massive unemployment and may harm the interest of small farmers and business people.
Communication and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal countered Swaraj's accusations point by point, saying FDI would be introduced only in 18 states and the state governments could choose whether or not to implement it.
"Initially, retail FDI will be implemented in 18 cities, and it will be foolish to say that by implementing in 18 cities, the small retailers will be in trouble," he said.
Sibal criticized the BJP for making exaggerated and wrong comments on the issue, and said that the government has come out with a policy that gives state governments the freedom to decide themselves whether they will or will not allow FDI in retail.
"I don't think this discussion was necessary. It is merely from a political standpoint. The government decided that FDI will be allowed in cities with a population of more than 10 lakhs - there are only 53 cities that meet this criteria," he added.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on his part opposed the government's decision, saying FDI in retail is not in the country's interest and that it will result in more unemployment.
BSP leader Dara Singh Chauhan said that government should not take any decision in this regard in a hurry.
Despite the UPA Government repeatedly expressing the confidence that it will survive the Opposition-sponsored motion, it's now counting on the support of Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which provide external support to the government.
If the BSP and SP both abstain in the 545-seat Lok Sabha, the majority mark will come down from 273 to 251. The Congress and its UPA allies have 261 MPs. Anti-FDI MPs add up to 219.