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Opposition wants Parliament to function

Debate on foreign direct investment with or without voting is top on the agenda

Gulf News

New Delhi: The opposition wants to debate the contentious foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail during the upcoming winter session of Parliament even if the government does not agree for voting on the issue.

Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav gave an indication to this effect on Thursday.

Yadav, who is also convenor of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), said they are keeping the option open on this issue.

According to Yadav, FDI and corruption would be the big issues during the winter session starting November 22. He said efforts were being made to make a common cause with other political parties, including some constituents of the ruling coalition in a bid to corner the government on the issue.

“We will talk to the DMK, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Left on all issues… We will try to reach a consensus,” Yadav said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which heads the NDA, is scheduled to meet on November 20 under the chairmanship of veteran leader Lal Krishna Advani to finalise its strategy.

After the complete washout of the monsoon session, the opposition does not want to disrupt Parliament. Instead it wants to debate all crucial issues like FDI and corruption.

Although the Left Front has already given notice for debate followed by voting in both Houses of Parliament, the opposition’s decision to keep the option open for debate without voting comes from indications that the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) may not agree for voting on the issue.

UPA has already been reduced to minority after the Trinamool Congress walked out of it and withdrew its support to the government in September. Moreover, some constituents and allies of the UPA are also opposed to FDI. While Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the second largest constituent of the UPA is opposed to FDI, both Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, which sustain the minority Manmohan Singh government with their outside support now, are also against FDI.

With Trinamool Congress contemplating to move a no-confidence motion against the government during the winter session, many parties including BJP feel there is no need for confrontation with the government followed by disruptions since they would get the chance to vote against the government anyway on the no-confidence motion.