United assault on FDI a big worry to UPA

In a bleak forecast for the ruling combine, the DMK, a key UPA ally, and the Samajwadi Party, which provides outside support, on Tuesday decided to reject in Parliament the decision to allow FDI in multibrand in retail.

A no-trust move would have been ideal from the UPA’s perspective as it is confident of mustering the required numbers to prove a simple majority in the Lok Sabha, in contrast to the controversial FDI issue.The buzz in the Opposition circles centred on the FDI, though, for the sake of formality, the National Democratic Alliance, and earlier the BJP, at their meetings, did discuss Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s proposal for a no-confidence motion.

NDA leaders believe that a no-trust motion would be akin to hitting a self-goal as its defeat would only help the ruling combine claim that it has the endorsement of Parliament on all its decisions, including the FDI.

CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat set the stage on Monday for the Opposition strategy by declaring that the Left would settle for nothing less than a voting motion on FDI. He rejected Commerce Minister Anand Sharma’s contention that there was no precedent of an executive decision having been voted upon. He cited the 2001 example when the NDA decision on disinvestment of BALCO was put to vote.

On behalf of the government, the newly-appointed Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath gave enough indications that the UPA has not given up hopes of prevailing upon sections of the Opposition not to press for a voting motion on the FDI by meeting NDA convener and Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav.

Interestingly, after his meeting with Mr. Nath, Mr. Yadav told journalists that the emphasis should be on unity among the Opposition parties rather than which rule a particular subject was debated under. This is music to the ears of the government, which has been working overtime to prevent either a noconfidence motion on FDI or a discussion under a rule that entails voting.

Over the last few days, the Opposition has been mentioning that a confrontationist approach with the government only led to repeated disruptions of Parliament and denied members opportunity to raise several pressing issues. Mr. Yadav and smaller parties have been agitated over the repeated disruption tactics by the major Opposition parties. In fact, during the virtually washed out monsoon session, he conveyed the message to the BJP that the House should be allowed to function.

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