Government braces for vote on FDI in Lok Sabha
All eyes were on the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Wednesday as the government braced itself for a vote in the Lok Sabha on the issue of foreign investment in multi-brand retail.
As the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) appealed to all parties to vote in favour of its move and defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), some consolation came from the SP that said it was against foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail but would not do anything to trouble the government.
Both the BSP and the SP support the government from outside.
"Netaji (SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav) has already made his position clear on the issue - that he is against FDI. Today, after the reply of the government, the Samajwadi Party will decide what to do at the time of the voting. We will not do anything to trouble the government," SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav told a news channel.
On day two of the debate in the Lok Sabha on the issue, ahead of the vote in the evening, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said the BJP was "doing politics".
"BJP is doing politics on the issue as it up to states to decide if they want to allow FDI or not. I don't understand why we are discussing the issue. I appeal to all political parties to vote in favour of the government and defeat BJP," he told reporters outside parliament.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari also questioned the intent of the opposition.
If the opposition wanted to "persuade" the government to roll back FDI, Tewari asked, then why did it go for a debate under Rule 184, which entails voting, instead of Rule 193 that states how a member would submit in writing his request for a discussion on a matter of urgent public importance.
The four-hour debate Tuesday saw leaders from BJP and Left, as well as allies SP, BSP and DMK, and erstwhile ally the Trinamool Congress, criticise FDI in retail.