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    Posted on 28 November 2012
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    UPA agrees to Opposition’s demand of debate and vote on FDI

    The four-day-long impasse ended after Kamal Nath met Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley to discuss the matter

    Ashhar Khan
    New Delhi


    In a bid to break the ongoing impasse over FDI in multi-brand retail, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath met Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley. Though the meeting remained inconclusive, there is hope of its resolution with the UPA agreeing to a vote over the matter. “The chair of the Houses will decide on the rule under which the debate will take place.” Sushma Swaraj, however, insisted, that they want the debate under Rule 184, which entails voting.

    Sources have told Tehelka that the government is now ready for voting under Rule 184. This means that the coming days will see both Houses of Parliament functioning, as the demand of the Opposition will be met by the government.

    The UPA Coordination Committee meeting Tuesday afternoon saw the first signs of a breakthrough emerging. All the constituents of UPA were with the government on the issue of FDI in multi brand retail. Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK), which was earlier reluctant on the issue of voting with the government, also came around. DMK supremo M Karunanidhi said, “We will support the government at the Centre on FDI to keep communal forces at bay; I have taken this decision with much bitterness.”

    With the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) backing the government, voting on the FDI issue now remains a mere formality for UPA II. All the numbers adding up in Lok Sabha will ensure a smooth sail for the government. The government had started a two pronged approach to ensure support — one was led by the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and the other by Congress General Secretary and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. Nath was in constant touch with SP, BSP and the Trinamool Congress. He ensured that if it comes to a vote SP and BSP support the government. The task cut out for Azad, however, was slightly tough. He was supposed to get DMK on board for voting. He had gone to Chennai to meet Karunanidhi but that meeting did not yield and result. But in the next two days he had convinced Karunanidhi to be on the government’s side in case voting took place.

    After four consecutive days of disruptions in both houses of Parliament, the UPA government has now got its maths all worked out. The government is ready for a debate on the issue of FDI in multi brand retail under the rule which entails voting, as demanded by the Opposition. The Opposition including the Left parties had been demanding a vote to resolve the issue.

    ashhar@tehelka.com


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    Posted on 28 November 2012
 

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