The all-party meeting on foreign direct investment in retail could not reach a consensus on whether the matter should be voted upon or not in Parliament.

The Government managed to muster support on its stand against voting as the Trinamool Congress, apart from Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the DMK, told the meeting that the decision on the Rule under which issue will be debated should be left to Speaker of Lok Sabha Meira Kumar.

The Biju Janata Dal also has indicated that its priority is smooth running of the House, rather than voting under Rule 184, sources said. These parties, however, have told the meeting that they are opposed to FDI in retail and demanded a threadbare discussion on it in both the Houses.

The Opposition argued in the meeting that the Government is more interested in pushing FDI in retail than reviving the manufacturing sector. They reiterated that FDI in retail will adversely impact small retailers, artisans and farmers.

To convince its allies, particularly the DMK, a meeting of the UPA has been convened on Tuesday. The meeting is likely to discuss the future strategy of the alliance in the House on the issue.

Within the Congress too, there is an argument that defeating the Opposition’s view in Parliament through a voting will be beneficial for the Government. Efforts are on by a section of the Opposition and the Congress to reach a consensus on the possible wording of a motion under Rule 184. “Wordings could be worked out,” a senior Opposition leader told Business Line.

The motions moved by the Opposition MPs state that “This House disapproves FDI in multi-brand retail.” Congress circles indicated that they will not accept such wordings. They are ready for voting on a motion, which will discuss the impact of FDI in retail. “Let them move a motion on the possible impact on farmers or retailers by the decision. We will discuss it,” a Congress leader said.

The Opposition is not ready for voting on a motion which approves FDI in retail in principle.

(This article was published on November 26, 2012)
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