November 26th, 2012

Cong desperately seeking support on FDI; All Party Meet today

NEW DELHI : The government, which is facing intense opposition in Parliament to its decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, has convened an all-party meeting tomorrow besides reaching out to allies separately to ensure their support.
The Left and the BJP want a discussion in the Lok Sabha under rules 184 that entails voting.
The notice for the discussion was given by these parties on the opening day of the winter session on Thursday itself, the day the Trinamool Congress failed to bring its motion for non-confidence in the government in the House.
Parliament proceedings remained paralysed on the first two days of the session on the issue.
The government has, however, given no assurance to the Opposition that it would reconsider the decision. Earlier, the all-party meeting convened by Speaker Meira Kumar failed to achieve any result.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh even invited the BJP leadership over dinner to bring them round to his government’s view on FDI but apparently the move failed to cut ice with the main Opposition.
Earlier, the Prime Minister hosted SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP Chief Mayawati, both of whom are giving outside support to the government, and despite opposing the government decision over FDI, their behaviour on the both days of the session made it clear that they do not want to annoy the government beyond a point on the FDI and have been non-committal over whether they would want discussion on the issue under a rule that entailed voting.
With the stalemate continuing, the government was making it doubly sure that in the eventuality of any voting its allies remain intact.
Meanwhile, caught in horns of a dilemma on whether to agree for a debate with or without voting in Parliament on the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday accepted UPA key ally and DMK President M Karunanidhi’s suggestion to hold another round of meeting with the alliance partners on the issue.
With 18 MPs, the DMK is the second largest partner of the Congress-led coalition at the Centre.
With the DMK adopting a tough stand that it would oppose FDI in multiband retail trade, the Congress leadership on Sunday sent its senior leader Azad to assuage the feelings of the DMK leader and sought his party’s support in the event of voting in Parliament on allowing FDI in retail sector in the country.
Talking to reporters after an hour-long meeting with Karunanidhi at his CIT Colony Residence here, Azad said he had told the DMK leader the Centre would not force the states to implement FDI in retail sector in their respective states.
He also accepted the DMK patriarch’s suggestion to hold another round of meeting with all the alliance partners and like-minded parties to discuss the issue threadbare before taking a final decision.
The meeting, as desired by Karunanidhi, would be held in one or two days, he added.
Azad however refused a direct reply when asked whether the DMK, which had been stoutly opposing FDI in retail sector, had promised to bail out the government in the event of voting in Parliament.

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