New Delhi: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath met Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley on Wednesday on in an attempt to break the deadlock in Parliament over FDI in multi-brand retail. Congress MP Rajiv Shukla was also present at the meeting.
Parliament did not convene on Wednesday owing to Guru Nanak Jayanthi, but the four-day long deadlock over the FDI issue seems to have ended. This as the UPA has agreed for a vote on FDI. The Opposition led by the BJP has been demanding for a vote for the past one week.
The UPA's change of heart came after it received a boost from its allies. It has been assured of having the numbers to survive the vote. Kamal Nath said it was for the Speaker to take a final call. Sources say that the UPA government wants to put up a brave front over the issue by showing that it is not running away from voting.
After the UPA coordination committee meet on Tuesday in New Delhi, Kamal Nath said the decision on FDI vote in the Lok Sabha will be taken by the Speaker. He said that the sense of the House was not for voting, but a discussion on FDI, which will be conveyed to the Speaker. "We will speak to the Speaker and the Speaker will take a decision. The sense of the House is not for voting. We are not concerned about any vote. We continue to be clear in our mind," Kamal Nath said.
Coming out of the meeting, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was assured of the numbers. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who is also Leader of the Lok Sabha, said, "By Monday, everything would be decided and everything would be settled. UPA met a day after the all-party meeting convened by the government to break the deadlock. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Defence Minister A K Antony, RLD's Ajit Singh, DMK's TR Baalu, NCP's Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and Finanace Minister P Chidambaram were among those present.
This came right after the DMK announced its support to the government in case of voting on the issue.
Parliament, meanwhile, was a no-show again for the fourth consecutive day with both Houses being adjourned following noisy scenes. The Opposition continued to demand discussion on FDI under rule 184 that entails voting.
Samajwadi Party said that it was against FDI but voting was not the only way to show dissent. SP leader Naresh Aggarwal said, "We are strictly against FDI. We will not let the policy be implemented in UP. We want a discussion in Parliament on FDI. Who says a vote on the issue is the only way to express dissent?"