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FDI: UPA allies to meet today

Posted on Nov 27, 10:42AM | IBNS

UPA allies will meet on Tuesday morning to discuss how the logjam in Parliament over foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail issue can be broken.

"I am not averse to a vote on FDI but I don't believe it sets a healthy precedent," parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath told NDTV after yesterday's all-party meeting failed to break the deadlock.

"If we can't convince the Opposition, we will consider a vote on FDI," he said.

At Monday's meeting, while the government offered only a discussion, the Left Front, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (United) remained adamant on their demand for a debate under voting rules.

Union home minister Sushil Kaumar Shinde chaired the crucial meeting that took place at Parliament House here. It was attended by Union ministers like P Chidambaram, Kamal Nath, Anand Sharma and Sharad Pawar.

After the meeting, Kamal Nath told reporters: "It was a good meeting, Many members said the House must run."

He said he will appeal to the parties demanding a discussion under Rule 184 to reconsider their view.

"I will discuss the sentiments expressed in the meeting with the presiding officers of the two Houses," Nath said.

Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said: "We want a discussion under 184. We are not ready to compromise."

The Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also said they want a discussion on the issue.

However, both the parties left it to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha to take a decision on the requirement of voting.

Speaking to media, Mayawati said: "The BSP wants Parliament to function. We want a debate on FDI. However, the rule under which discussion on FDI takes place should be decided by the Speaker in the Lok Sabha and the Chairperson in the Rajya Sabha."

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav earlier in the day met the Prime Minister ahead of the all-party meeting.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said: "Our party is ready for a discussion on FDI. The Speaker should decide under which rule the discussion should happen."

"We want discussion on the issue of FDI but not under Section 184," he said.

The UPA's key alliance partner the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) is not keen on voting, reports said.

On Sunday, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad's met with DMK chief M Karunanidhi to bring the UPA ally on board on FDI, but failed to make any headway.

"Karunanidhi has lots of reservations on FDI in retail. He has sought another round of meeting with UPA allies on the issue," Azad said after the meeting.

Meanwhile, both houses of the Parliament were adjourned for the day on Monday as the Opposition continued to create uproarious scenes over the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail.

The Parliament could not function since the beginning of the Winter Session last week because of sustained protests by the Opposition in both Houses over the same issue.