Parliament logjam continues as Government fails to convince BJP

Last Updated: Wed, Nov 28, 2012 12:00 hrs

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, who met leaders of opposition Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, here on Wednesday failed to persuade them to soften their stand on demanding a vote on the government's decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.

Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, after the meeting, said 'the Parliamentary Affairs Minister asked us not to press for rule 184'.

"After the all-party meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister today called the leaders of both the houses for a meeting. He once again appealed to us not to insist on 184," she said, while asserting that the main Opposition party is firm in its demand for a discussion on FDI in retail under rule that entails voting.

Meanwhile, Kamal Nath, who had met Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar earlier, said that the main motive of today's meeting was to ensure that both houses of Parliament function smoothly.

Kamal Nath yesterday said the allies of the ruling UPA Government are united in wanting discussion on FDI in multi-brand retail.

He said 'the UPA is fully united and all constituents of the UPA have said that they are firmly behind the government in any discussion or debate in Parliament'.

"Yesterday in the meeting this matter was discussed and the larger numbers were in favour of a discussion to be decided by the Speaker. So, I will hold consultations with the Speaker, convey this sense of yesterday's meeting and let the Speaker take an appropriate decision," Kamal Nath told mediapersons after the UPA Coordination Committee here.

"The sense of the house yesterday was to have a discussion, they did not insist on voting. There were some members who said let us leave it to the Speaker. This is going to be the Speaker's decision. It cannot be a government decision," he added.

Today's meeting took place a day after M. Karunanidhi-led DMK decided to support the UPA Government on the issue of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.

The DMK, which is a crucial ally of the ruling UPA Government with 18 Lok Sabha MPs, yesterday announced that it would support the Centre on the FDI in retail sector.

In a statement issued in Chennai, DMK supremo Karunanidhi said despite differences on the issue of FDI in retail sector, the party has decided to back the UPA Government to save it from being dislodged.

Karunanidhi said that the decision had been taken after considering the government's assurance that FDI in retail sector will not be forced on states, following which there is no danger to small traders and farmers in Tamil Nadu.

The DMK chief further said if there is voting in Parliament under rule 184, there is a possible threat to the UPA Government and this could benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

This move of Karunanidhi has come as a major breakthrough for the ruling Congress Party at the Centre.

Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP), Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Trinamool Congress have earlier said they will not insist on voting on the debate on the issue surrounding FDI in retail.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left Parties are, however, still adamant on discussion with voting provisions. (ANI)

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