New Delhi, Nov 22: The winter session of the parliament is set to begin on Thursday and it is expected that both the government and Opposition will not spare any efforts in attacking and counter-attacking over the issue of foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
Neither sides so far have showed any sign of softening their stands at an all-party meeting that was convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on the eve of the first day of the month-long session. It can be mentioned here that the monsoon session of the Parliament was completely washed out this year after the main principal party, BJP, created a big ruckus protesting against the government over the coal scam.
The government will feel the heat all the more this time with the Opposition uniting itself irrepective of the political colour. The BJP and the Left have demanded debating the FDI issue under the rules that entail voting and accused the government of not keeping its promise of consulting all parties and stakeholders before it went ahead to open the multi-brand retail sector to the foreign invetsors.
The BJP submitted a breach of privilege notice to Hamid Ansari, Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, against Union minister Anand Sharma for breaking his promise made on December 7 last year. The then leader of the House, Pranab Mukherjee, had also made the same promise.
It seems the government is in no mood to oblige the Opposition by calling a voting on the issue. Sharma and Kamal Nath, another Union minister, have said there is no precedence of an executive decision being questioned in Parliament.
Meanwhile, the proposal of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) to move a no-confidence motion against the government, of which it was a part till September but pulled out due to differences over 'anti-people' policies of the Congress-led government, found no takers at the meeting. A non-confidence motion needs the backing of at least 54 members, constituting 10 per cent of the strength of the Lok Sabha.
Leader of the Opposition and senior BJP leader Sushma swaraj siaaid at the meeting that her party wanted to raise the FDI issue under a rule entailing voting and appealed for its acceptance. She said the BJP does not want to disrupt the House for there are several pending issues. "But our precondition is that the issue on which an assurance was given to the House be taken up first under a rule that entails voting," she said.