New Delhi: 7.22 pm: Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, said that though the UPA government had won the vote on technical grounds, it had lost the FDI battle morally. She claimed that the numbers in the Lok Sabha made it clear that the government was in a minority. The BJP leader also hit out at the Samajwadi Party and the BSP, saying that there double standards had been exposed.
7.13 pm: UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi expressed her happiness over the win in the voting on FDI in retail in the Lok Sabha, saying, "We are happy about the win and not worried about the Rajya Sabha."
7:11 pm: The UPA rubbished the allegations of the opposition parties over the misuse of the CBI. Union Oil Minister Veerappa Moily said, "These are baseless allegations that we used the CBI...they are against the institution of Parliament. The TMC and the Left voted with communal forces."
While there were 218 votes in favour of the motion against FDI in retail, there were 253 votes in favour of the government.
7:07 pm: The BJP and the Left termed accused the UPA government of misusing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to win the vote on FDI in the Lok Sabha, referring to the walkout staged by the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
7:03 pm: The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), which has two MPs, remained absent during the voting on FDI in retail in Lok Sabha. Former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) was also absent while his party MP Dr Ajay Kumar voted against the government.
6:52 pm: The Lok Sabha rejected the motion moved by Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy to cancel the modification of FEMA. While the government got 254 votes, there were 224 votes in favour of the motion.
6:45 pm: The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government won the vote on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. While there were 218 votes against the FDI, there were 253 votes in the favour of the government's move.
6:16 pm: Sushma Swaraj appealed to all the parties to vote against the FDI in retail, saying the issue was about India, and not secularism vs communalism.
6:01 pm: BJP leader Sushma Swaraj targets Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, saying his constituency was against FDI, but his government was for it. "Kapil Sibal's constituency in Chandni Chawk is opposed to FDI, but his government is supporting FDI, and, therefore, when he spoke, he had an eye on both," said Swaraj. She also mocked RJD chief Lalu Prasad, saying he was not interested in anything but jokes.
5:58 pm: After the Samajwadi Party walked out of the Lok Sabha before the vote on FDI in retail, its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said, "We have boycotted this debate. It was decided by the party...this was the best decision that the SP could come up with...FDI will destroy farmers."
5:55 pm: Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, summed up the debate on FDI in retail, pointing that most parties in the Lok Sabha had spoken against the government move.
5:53 pm: The Samajwadi Party (SP) also staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha before the voting on FDI in retail.
5:40 pm: The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha before the voting on FDI in retail. The move by the BSP has reduced the number required by the UPA to win the voting.
5:23 pm: Targeting the Opposition on the issue of FDI, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma pointed that three BJP-ruled states - Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab - never opposed the move of the government in writing. He further said that 11 Chief Ministers had backed the proposal, adding that the government had consulted 12 farmer unions and 17 biggest consumer bodies in the country over the issue.
The Minister further said that the government respected federalism and was not forcing FDI in retail on states.
5:14 pm: "Farmers suffer due to lack of food management in the country...farm product losses are seen at 35-40 per cent," said Anand Sharma. He further said that the decision on FDI in retail had been taken by the government after consulting all stakeholders, adding, "Farm produce worth Rs 65,000 crore is wasted per year".
5:05 pm: Replying to the debate on FDI in retail in the Lok Sabha, Commerce and Industries Minister Anand Sharma said that the decision was not taken by the government overnight.
Pointing that FDI had been a topic of discussion for years in the country, Sharma said that lack of infrastructure and cold storage in the country was leading to excessive wastage. He added that "as an agrarian economy, we have to ensure minimum wastage."
4:17 pm: There is no compulsion on the issue of FDI, everyone is free to choose what to buy and from where to buy, says Lalu. He further pointed that the BJP had wanted FDI in 2002.
4:10 pm: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad attacks the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha on the issue of foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail.
3:30 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi questioned why was FDI in retail optional for states if the government was confident that it is good for the country. He also clarified that the BJP manifesto never talked about bringing FDI in the unorganised sector. "We are national and not anti-national. We accept that our thought to bring in FDI in some form in retail, though it was very little, was wrong and we have rectified it," he said.
Joshi also said, "You may be ready to sacrifice yourself, but don't sacrifice the interest of the country."
3:15 pm: The Lok Sabha was adjourned after an uproar as RJD chief Lalu Prasad and the BJP traded charges at each other during the FDI debate.
2:56 pm: The Shiromani Akali Dal spoke against FDI in retail in the Lok Sabha during the debate. SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur said FDI was nothing short of bartering away the interest of the country. "FDI policy will create joblessness," she added.
There was an uproar as the government accused the SAD of supporting FDI even as it spoke against it in Parliament. Congress displayed a letter of support from SAD in the Lok Sabha.
2:30 pm: The CPI attacked the Prime Minister over FDI in retail during the debate in the Lok Sabha. CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said, "For the cause of Walmart, the Prime Minister is even ready to sacrifice his government." "We know the outcome, but we are not running away from voting. We want the country to know where we stand," Dasgupta added.
2:15 pm: The Rashtriya Lok Dal backed FDI in retail during the debate in Lok Sabha saying Indian farmers needed an alternative. "We have failed to give right price to our farmers. Why are we scared of foreign investment? We have to give our farmers an alternative," RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary said.
1:35 pm: NCP leader Praful Patel backed FDI in retail in the Lok Sabha and said it will bring development just like liberalisation and globalisation have brought. He also said the concept of FDI was not new to India. "FDI in retail is not new in the country. If you go to the malls you can see all goods from foreign countries available. It is a wrong perception that if we open out market to foreign markets, it will affect our small businesses. You are not against the malls, why? Because your leaders are building malls in Mumbai," Patel said.
"We should keep in mind the changing scenario around us. Today Indian companies are going abroad and buying companies," Patel added.
Citing the example of Coca Cola, Patel said, "Once Coca Cola was thrown out of the country. But today your and our children are having it. McDonald's does not source its bread or potato from abroad," he said. "NCP will take a decision on FDI in Maharashtra after discussion with its coordination committee. Trade is a two way relationship, when big investors from India profit in other countries the same will be expected of India," Patel added.
12:45 pm: JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav demanded a rollback of FDI. During the FDI debate in Lok Sabha, Sharad Yadav said, "If you do not roll back FDI in multi-brand retail, we will roll back the government." He said FDI was being imposed on the country.
12:35 pm: JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav said the government was concerned about the market and not the country. During the debate on FDI in the Lok Sabha, Sharad Yadav also said he did not want the government to fall, but was against FDI in retail. "Had we wanted this govt to fall, then we would have backed TMC trust motion. We are not supporting FDI in retail. PM and Sonia ji have left the House, I wish they were here to listen. TMC was upset with us, they are not responding to us as we did not support them," Sharad Yadav said.
12:17 pm: The CPM on Wednesday said it will support FDI in retail if it increases productivity and helps in improving technology. Slamming FDI during the debate in the Lok Sabha, CPM leader Basudeb Acharya said, "Neither the farmers nor the consumers will be benefited from FDI in retail." He also said that FDI will bring monopoly.
"The government should rethink on the policy of FDI in retail. This is not in the interest of our people. We will take this out of Parliament, we will go to streets against this policy. We will not allow Walmart in our country easily," Acharya said.
12:10 pm: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the government was confident of winning the vote on FDI in retail. He said, "Why would we have a debate if we were not confident?" The Prime Minister also refused to comment on the speech of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
11:00 am: Changing its strategy, the Congress is now appealing to all parties to form a united secular front and vote for the government on FDI in retail in the Lok Sabha. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari said, "It is an opportunity for parties like BJD and TMC to show their secular credentials and vote for the government."
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath also appealed to all parties to 'vote against the BJP's politics'.
After a heated debate in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, the government remains confident of winning the vote on FDI in both the Houses. With Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal leading the government in the FDI debate against BJP's Sushma Swaraj, the government expects to gain the numbers in a vote which will happen on Wednesday with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) likely to bail the government out.
Sushma Swaraj will respond to Kapil Sibal on Wednesday. Voting is expected to take place after 6 pm on a motion moved by the Opposition to disallow FDI in multi-brand retail and on FEMA. The Opposition will still insist on two separate votes, one on FDI in retail and one on FEMA.
All eyes will be on the Uttar Pradesh parties, the SP and the BSP, that have kept the UPA guessing so far. BSP chief Mayawati had on Monday said, "The SP is waiting to see what decision we will take and they want to follow us."
When SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav spoke, he re-iterated his party line opposing the government move, but at the same time he was clear as to who was his natural ally.
The BSP leaders speaking in the House also played up the secular-communal divide. "When we vote on Wednesday, we will have to decide if we can stand by communal forces," BSP leader Dara Singh Chauhan said.
The government does not have the problem of numbers in the Lok Sabha. But the real test will be in the Rajya Sabha where any one of the the two UP parties will have to vote with the government to defeat any motion against FDI in multi-brand retail.