Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office (PMO) V. Narayanasamy on Saturday played down Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's dinner diplomacy, saying the meeting with the leaders of various political outfits was aimed at ensuring that the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament functions smoothly.
Asserting that the UPA Government is willing to answer all the points raised by the opposition parties, Narayanasamy said 'it is usual for the honourable Prime Minister to meet the leaders of various political parties before the Parliament Session and interact with them for the purpose of smooth running of the House'.
"In the last session of Parliament, during the Monsoon Session, the BJP blocked the proceedings of the House and therefore one month we could not transact any business in the Parliament. There are lots of bills pending, lot of issues, which the opposition wants to raise and the government is willing to answer all the points," said Narayanasamy.
"Therefore, the Prime Minister called them and discussed with them for the smooth running of the house," he added.
The Prime Minister hosted a dinner for UPA allies last night aimed at firming up a joint strategy on various issues, including FDI in retail, which are likely to be raked by the opposition in Parliament.
According to reports, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who is the leader of Lok Sabha, briefed the allies about the notices that have been given by various parties under different rules.
The Prime Minister's dinner came close on the heels of his similar interactions with leaders of crucial outside supporters as the Congress-led UPA Government faces the prospect of a motion entailing voting on FDI and even a possible threat of No-Confidence Motion.
Dr. Singh hosted a dinner for Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh earlier last week and followed it with lunch for BSP chief Mayawati on Sunday.
The government is facing the prospect of dealing with a opposition-sponsored motion entailing voting on FDI and even a possible threat of a no-confidence motion.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has convened an all-party meeting on November 21, a day before the Winter Session of Parliament begins, to discuss pressing issues.
BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad had earlier said that his party would strongly oppose the government decision on FDI in multi-brand retail in the forthcoming Winter Session of Parliament.
Asserting that the decision to approve FDI in multi-brand retail is not in the interest of the country, Prasad announced that that 'the BJP will discuss its strategy with other NDA partners and also get in touch with political parties which have reservations on the issue'.
Allies of the BJP-led NDA are likely to hold a meeting on November 21 a day before the Winter Session of Parliament.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a crucial ally of the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre, continued the suspense over its stand on any resolution, which may be introduced in Parliament concerning the FDI in multi-brand retail.
The support of DMK, which is the second largest ally with 18 Lok Sabha MPs, is very crucial for the UPA after the exit of Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC).
The Winter Session of Parliament will begin on November 22. (ANI)