FDI Vote in Rajya Sabha: BSP, DMK set to back UPA; SP to abstain
Friday's voting pattern in the Rajya Sabha over the issue of allowing foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail appeared clear on Thursday itself, with the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Karunanidhi-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) set to back the UPA Government, and the Mulayam Singh-led Samajwadi Party (SP) announcing that it would abstain from voting.
"Samajwadi Party will walkout from the Rajya Sabha during the vote on FDI," party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said.
The SP's decision came after BSP leader Mayawati said that her party will vote in favour of the government when voting is held in the Upper House on FDI on Friday.
DMK leader Tiruchi Siva also said: "DMK has never let down friends; will always be with UPA."
The Congress and its allies had defeated the Opposition-backed motion over FDI in multi-brand retail in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday by a vote of 253 to 218.
The Rajya Sabha discussed the issue today and will continue the debate tomorrow before putting it to a vote.
The government had sailed through in Lok Sabha after the SP and BSP staged a walkout ahead of the voting. The Opposition alleged that the government had misused enforcement agencies like the CBI to intimidate the SP and the BSP to win the vote in the Lower House.
Besides Mayawati, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley and CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury took part in the debate.
While Jaitley spiritedly rejected the FDI policy of the government, Yechury opined that the government should rethink its decision.
Samajwadi Party's Naresh Agrawal also asked the government to rethink the decision.
Mayawati said that though her party has apprehensions about the FDI policy but she will still go with the government at this juncture.
However, she used the better part of her speech to take on the BJP. She slammed Sushma Swaraj for her comment that BSP is supporting the government on FDI as it fears the CBI.
Mayawati said: "BSP will support government on FDI in multi-brand retail when it will come up for voting. After the policy is implemented in Congress ruled states, its impact should be review at Parliamentary level before going ahead with it. The biggest plus point of the existing FDI policy is that it won't be imposed on any state."
Mayawati also termed the BJP's behaviour as resembling that of a fox, and it's diatribe against her and the BSP as a case of sour grapes.
She accused Sushma Swaraj of making baseless allegations against party.
Sushma Swaraj had alleged that CBI is being used to get BSP's support on FDI in retail
"It has become fashionable to accuse us of being under pressure from CBI. When it was in power, the BJP misused CBI to frame me in the Taj Corridor case," claimed Mayawati, adding, "We are not scared of CBI."
Arun Jaitley described the UPA Government as a lame duck government since its own allies are opposing the FDI move
"You (Govt) are dependent on support. When you are 18 short of majority, then you cannot run the government as you please. You cannot touch the 272 mark in Lok Sabha - you will need support and help. And whenever you need help, you have to compromise and pay a price and the support comes at a huge price," Jaitley said.
Jaitley further warned members of the Upper House that FDI will ensure the collapse of India's manufacturing sector and make India a nation of traders.
He argued that reforms are needed in the manufacturing sector before India can introduce FDI in multi-brand retail
"We will have stores owned by the Americans, French, and British, selling Chinese products and India will become a nation of sales boys and girls," Jaitley said.
"FDI move will ruin the small traders and lead to monopolistic tendencies. Just because some countries have allowed it, does it mean we will also do it," Jaitley added.
"FDI in retail is not beneficial for the country, the government should rethink its decision," said CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury.