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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1585

Samajwadi Party doublespeak adds new twist to FDI vote

From R. Vasudevan—Reporting from New Delhi
New Delhi, 30 November (

Key UPA supporter Samajwadi Party on Thursday sent mixed signals keeping everyone guessing on how it would vote on the issue of FDI in multibrand retail in Parliament next week, worrying the UPA managers who were sure of SP and BSP outside backing to bail out the government.

The combination of Left and Right parties like the BJP is ominous sign, The Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee has been blowing hot and cold on the FDI vote. Ally DMK which was hesitant in the beginning, has now agreed to back the UPA.

“We will vote against FDI in Rajya Sabha if the government brings it there,” SP leader in the Upper House Ramgopal Yadav told reporters in Parliament on Thursday morning when it became clear the issue would be voted. Asked if the party will vote against FDI in the Lok Sabha, he shot back, “Ask our leaders from the Lok Sabha.” When queried whether the party could have different positions in the two Houses, he said, “This happens many times. This has happened in the past also.”

However, hours later SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose party has 22 members in the Lok Sabha and nine in the Rajya Sabha, was not that forthright on the party’s stand when he spoke to reporters in Lucknow. “As far as FDI issue is concerned, our party is strongly opposed to it,” he said. When pressed on what stand his party would take in the parliament, “In politics, the future cannot be foretold. Decisions are taken as per the situation”.

His son, and U.P. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav that the decision on voting would be taken by the party president. “On the FDI issue, it would be decided in the House,” he said. SP leaders have been saying that the party will oppose FDI but have remained ambiguous on voting.

Earlier, the four-day logjam in Lok Sabha over the FDI in retail ended on Thursday with Speaker Meira Kumar allowing a discussion on the subject under a rule that entails voting.

“I have received 30 notices for discussion on FDI in multi-brand retail under Rule 184. I have admitted the motion to allow the discussion. The date and the time will be decided later,” the Speaker announced in the House. Her observation came minutes after the Leader of the House Sushilkumar Shinde, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamalnath and Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj met her in her chamber before the House met for the day.

Yesterday, the Government gave clear signals that it has no problem in having a discussion on FDI under a rule that entails voting after Nath consulted Ms Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley. Welcoming the decision, Ms Swaraj assured the Speaker that the House will function smoothly.

Parliament has not been functioning since Winter Session began on November 22 with the Left and the Right making a common cause on the demand for a discussion under a rule that entails voting.

Yielding to Opposition pressure, the Government agreed to the measure to discuss the issue under Rule 184 to ensure “smooth functioning” of the House as opposition parties stuck to their demand.

- Asian Tribune -

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