The Telegraph
Friday , November 16 , 2012
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Party offers FDI lifeline

New Delhi, Nov. 15: Key BJP ally Janata Dal (United) today offered the Centre a bailout window by submitting two notices for a House debate on FDI in multi-brand retail, one under Rule 184 that entails voting and the other under Rule 193 that doesn’t.

Party chief Sharad Yadav denied the suggestions of a bailout and argued that the idea was to have a discussion under any circumstances.

Har haal me sadan me charcha ho (whatever the circumstances, there should be a discussion in the House),” he said justifying the notice under Rule 193.

Yesterday, the CPM had submitted two notices under Rules 184 and 168, both entailing voting, and sought support across the political spectrum to force the Centre to revoke its “anti-people” FDI decision.

A couple of BJP members and Trinamul MP Shatabdi Roy too have submitted notices under Rule 184.

The JD(U) move, therefore, offers the government some relief at a time it is keen to avoid voting in Parliament on retail FDI, given that most parties are opposed in principle to the reform initiative.

Although the government will not fall if it loses the vote, a defeat would be a huge embarrassment.

The BJP did not attack Yadav, who also happens to be the NDA convener, but read the JD(U) initiative as an effort to pressure it into refraining from stalling Parliament once again.

The last monsoon session had virtually been a washout with the BJP pressing for the Prime Minister’s resignation in the coal-block allocation controversy, a move the JD(U) did not approve of. The JD(U) believes that stalling Parliament works in the government’s favour, sparing it from questioning over other key issues.

“As a leader of a political party, Sharadji has every right to express his views. Our Parliament strategy will be finalised at the NDA meeting,” BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

The BJP parliamentary board will meet on November 20 to draw up its strategy ahead of the NDA meeting, likely on November 21.

Yadav said he would discuss the matter with the entire Opposition, including the Left, to arrive at a common stand and force the Centre to have a House discussion.

He said that apart from FDI, there were other important issues such as corruption and price rise that needed to be taken up.

JD(U) sources said they were peeved with the BJP for having unilaterally decided to stall Parliament the last time. They cited the futility of pressing for a House vote on retail FDI, pointing out that accepting such a demand was the government’s prerogative.

“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?” a senior JD(U) leader said.

The JD(U) leader added the government would not face any danger until one of the two heartland parties, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), took a firm stand against retail FDI.

“So far, as our information goes, neither the Samajwadis nor the BSP is interested in destabilising the government. Therefore, it would be foolish to stall Parliament,” he said.