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SP keeps government guessing on FDI in retail

Posted on Nov 29, 05:11PM | IANS

Where does the Samajwadi Party (SP), which props the UPA government, stand on the issue of foreign investment in retail? On Thursday, it was an impossible to answer question even though party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav spoke on the issue as did his brother Ram Gopal Yadav.

Throwing a political googly of sorts, Mulayam Singh said the party would wait for the "right opportunity" to take a decision, shortly after his brother and party leader said it would vote against the issue in the Rajya Sabha.

"In politics you wait for the right opportunity and only then take the decision and #65533; There should be serious discussion on this (FDI)," Mulayam Singh told reporters.

A little before that, Ram Gopal Yadav had said: "If there is a vote on FDI in Rajya Sabha, we will vote against it and #65533; we will not let it pass."

In the Rajya Sabha, where the UPA government is in a minority, the SP is furious over what it feels is the government's support for reservation for Dalits and tribals in job promotions -- an idea backed by its rival, the Bahujan Samaj Party.

To confuse matters further, the SP had obliquely supported the government on the issue in the Lok Sabha by not insisting on a debate with voting.

On Thursday, signalling an end to the parliament logjam, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar allowed a debate with voting rights under rule 184.

After that, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla announced that a debate with voting rights would also take place in the Rajya Sabha.

Both houses of parliament have been seeing disruptions since the winter session began Nov 22.