New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday night hosted a dinner for UPA leaders where the DMK is understood to have insisted that government should avoid voting in Parliament on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, making clear its reservation on the issue. With this in mind, the government is likely to propose to the BJP a discussion on FDI in Parliament under rule 193 which does not entail voting.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has convened an all-party meeting on November 21, a day before the Winter Session of Parliament starts, to discuss pressing issues. Sources said that during the dinner meeting, DMK, the second largest group in the UPA with its 18 MPs in Lok Sabha, has asked the government to avoid voting in Parliament on the crucial FDI issue.
The dinner for UPA leaders was aimed at firming up a joint strategy on various issues, including FDI in retail, which are likely to be raked by the Opposition in Parliament. Leader of Lok Sabha and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde briefed the allies about the notices that have been given by various parties under different rules.
Singh's dinner comes close on the heels of his similar interactions with leaders of crucial outside supporters Samajwadi Party and BSP. He hosted dinner for SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh last week and followed it with lunch for BSP chief Mayawati on Sunday.
There is a view within the government that no business could be transacted on the first two days of the Winter Session of Parliament starting November 22, but it is hopeful that some solution will be found out and Parliament can have normal functioning from the following week.