Wholesale victory for govt
With abstentions by the SP and BSP, the government on Wednesday won the vote in the Lok Sabha on FDI in multi-brand retail as even a united Opposition — the Left and the Right along with the TMC — failed to muster majority support.
The motion against FDI moved by Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj was defeated by a margin of 36 votes, as of the total 472 members present and voting only 218 voted in favour of the motion and 254 against it.
The issue will now be discussed in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday and Friday under a rule that entails voting. Incidentally, in the Upper House, abstentions by the SP and BSP will not help the government and so attempts are being made to ensure a positive vote by the BSP, which has 15 members in the Rajya Sabha.
The Lok Sabha also rejected the motion seeking an amendment of the rules notified by the Reserve Bank of India under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema) to enable FDI in multi-brand retail. While 254 voted in favour of the government, 224 were against.
Members of the SP and BSP, with respective strengths of 22 and 21, did not participate in the voting as they walked out alleging that the interests of farmers and small retailers had been ignored.
Hailing the government’s victory after two days of heated debate in the Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is a Rajya Sabha member but was present during the voting in the Lower House, said, “The FDI policy that we have put in place has the approval of this House (Lok Sabha).” UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed her pleasure over the victory.