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Dal bailout hope for govt on FDI vote

New Delhi/Patna, Nov. 15: The Janata Dal (United) today submitted two notices, one under a voting clause and the other without a voting clause, for a debate in Parliament on FDI in retail and party chief Sharad Yadav said he favoured discussion and not disruption — a move that offers a bailout window to the government.

“Har haal me sadan me charcha ho (Under any circumstance there should be a discussion in the House),” Sharad said in New Delhi.

The JD(U) has submitted two notices, one under Rule 184 that entails voting and the other under Rule 193 that calls for a simple discussion without pressing for division.

Yesterday, the CPM submitted two notices, both under rules that entail voting in the House. A couple of BJP MPs and Trinamul Congress member Shatabdi Roy too have submitted notices for discussion under the voting clause.

The decision of the JD(U), a key ally of principal opposition BJP, offers a window of relief to the government that desperately wants to avoid any voting in Parliament on FDI in retail given that a majority of the parties are in principle opposed to the reforms initiative. Though the government would not fall if it loses the vote, it would come as a huge embarrassment for the already beleaguered Manmohan Singh regime.

The BJP refrained from attacking Sharad, who is also the NDA convener, but read the JD(U)’s initiative as an effort to put pressure on it to refrain from stalling Parliament once again.

“As a leader of a political party, Sharadji has every right to express his views. Our Parliament strategy would be finalised at the NDA meeting,” BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said. The BJP parliamentary board is meeting on Tuesday to finalise its strategy ahead of the NDA meet likely to be held on Wednesday.

In Patna, former BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu also appeared non-committal. “We will oppose FDI in retail and press for voting in Parliament in consultation with other political parties since this is not a narrow partisan political issue but a national issue affecting the larger population of India,” he said.

Sharad, however, denied charges of bailing out the government and said that apart from FDI, there were other important issues like corruption and price rise that need to be taken up.

JD(U) sources said they were peeved with the BJP for unilaterally deciding to stall Parliament in the monsoon session.

“What do you do if the government does not accept discussion under a voting clause? Should we continue to stall Parliament and allow the government to escape accountability on other key issues?” said a senior JD(U) leader.