UPA Coordination Committee to meet on FDI issue today
The UPA Coordination Committee will meet here on Tuesday to discuss the provision of voting on the issue of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
The Centre, which has taken the stand that it will not force the DMK in Chennai or any other state government on implementation of FDI in the retail sector, is trying to persuade Karunanidhi's party to support the government on the issue.
The DMK, which is the second-largest party in the UPA after the Congress, is worried that supporting the decision even tacitly might affect its vote bank. The DMK has 18 Lok Sabha MPs, which is vital to the Central Government.
Today's meeting assumes significance as it comes a day after the all-party meeting convened by the government to resolve the continuing deadlock in Parliament remained inconclusive.
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, is also likely to meet the UPA allies on the issue.
Parliamentary Minister Kamal Nath after the all-party meeting earlier on Monday said the Government was open to discussion in parliament on the issue.
He, however, said it should be left to the presiding officers of the respective houses to decide whether the discussion should be allowed under the provisions of a vote.
The government, which is under tremendous pressure from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has, however, got an assurance from Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) that they would not insist on vote on a debate on FDI in retail in Parliament.
Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj after the all-party meeting yesterday said that her party would not compromise at any cost.
"We out forward our views very clearly that we want discussion with voting. We want that the discussion should take place as per the rules, 184 in Lok Sabha and 167 in Rajya Sabha. So, we asked them that a discussion should be held," said Swaraj.
"We said that they have violated all that they had assured to us and so it is very necessary to express our views in Parliament and that can be done only through voting. So, 184 in the Lok Sabha and 167 in the Rajya Sabha," she added.
Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay also appeared firm on discussion, and said that the Speaker should take a final call.
"We want discussion. Now, let the Speaker decide. We wanted to move a no-confidence motion, but we do not have the numbers. Now, the Opposition parties are moving for 184. The government is not obliging them. Chidambaramji and others have straightaway said that it will send a wrong signal, wrong message; no discussion can be held. We want a no-confidence motion with vote," he said.
Many parties in the Opposition have remained adamant on discussion under a rule that entails voting under Rule 184.