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Jaitley smells RS disruption

New Delhi, Dec. 5: The BJP fears the UPA, “unsure” of its numbers, will engineer disruptions in the Rajya Sabha to prevent a debate and voting on FDI in retail.

The Rajya Sabha is slated to debate the motion and vote on it over Thursday and Friday.

Arun Jaitley, the leader of the Opposition in the upper House, today said he had a “lurking suspicion that the government was unsure which way the Rajya Sabha vote will go”.

Jaitley didn’t name either the Samajwadi Party or the BSP but said he had “absolutely no doubt” that the UPA government’s “strategy” was to “manipulate the more pliable sections” in the upper House and engineer disruptions.

Citing the Lokpal debate in end-December 2011, he said the UPA had a “horrible track record of disrupting the Rajya Sabha”.

Then, the RJD’s Rajniti Prasad had snatched documents from minister V. Narayanasamy which he tore and flung in the well of the House, leading to the House being adjourned and losing precious minutes that prevented a vote.

Jaitley accused the UPA and its allies of deliberately disrupting proceedings and demanded the chair call the leader of the Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to explain whether the government and its supporters would allow the House to run.

This came after disruptions by the BSP and the Samajwadi Party, protesting on different issues.

Jaitley was heard telling fellow BJP MPs that the government and its allies had made up their mind to not let the Rajya Sabha transact any business. “The House is being repeatedly disturbed because the government is unsure of its numbers,” Jaitley said. Janata Dal (U) leader Shivanand Tiwari echoed him.

The BJP’s assessment is that even if the BSP votes with the government and the Samamjwadi abstains, which they said was the likely scenario, the UPA would still be short by a couple of votes.

Once the House was adjourned for the day a few minutes past noon, Mayawati, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury and Trinamul MP Derek ’Brien gathered at Jaitley’s seat for consultations.