Govt set to win FDI vote in Rajya Sabha after BSP support
The UPA government after getting majority vote over FDI entry in the Lok Sabha, seemed set to win in Rajya Sabha too evening with the BSP deciding to vote for FDI and Samajawadi Party deciding to abstain as it did in Lok Sabha.
The BSP promise on Thursday to vote in favor of FDI in the Rajya Sabha, gave much relief to the government which was bracing for a crucial vote on Friday, even as BJP and AIADMK attacked parties which sided with UPA despite having reservations over the measure.
A day after the Opposition motion seeking rollback of the decision was rejected convincingly in the Lok Sabha, the Upper House took up the debate with opposition attacking the decision saying it would hurt the poor.
"We have decided to vote in favor of government on FDI in multi-brand retail issue tomorrow," BSP chief Mayawati, whose party has 15 members in the Rajya Sabha, said participating in the debate. The party had on Wednesday staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha, helping bail out the government in the vote.
Mayawati said her party has decided to support the government because the FDI policy "has a plus point as it is not binding on states and they are free to implement it."
AIADMK member V Maitreyan initiated the discussion and made a strong demand for withdrawing the decision to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail. Maitreyan and Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley earlier attacked BSP as also SP, DMK and NCP for helping the government in voting despite reservations to the policy.
BSP was the main target of Jaitley who said, "You know that this policy is harmful is to the country. If you are willing to proclaim, you should be willing to strike."
Mayawati reacted sharply to the remarks that her party was helping the government under CBI pressure saying the main Opposition party is leveling such allegations after it found out that "grapes were sour" as its game plan did not succeed.
Her remarks led to noisy scenes in the House as BJP demanded the remarks to be expunged but Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said there was nothing in what the BSP supremo has said.
Jaitley and Maitreyan said the measure was earlier opposed by both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi when they were in the opposition. Jaitley targeted the Prime Minister reminding him that as Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha during the NDA rule, Singh had strongly opposed FDI in retail.
Hitting out at DMK over the issue, Maitreyan said "If there is one party which believes in running with the hare and hunting with the hound, it is DMK."
Rejecting arguments in favour of the measure, Jaitley attacked the government saying their debate is based on "deception" and charged it with "concocting" figures by exaggerating the amount of waste and allowing hand over our food supply chain to foreigners.
- Asian Tribune -