FDI: After LS vote, focus on Rajya Sabha debate today

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New Delhi, Dec 6: A day after the UPA government sailed past the Lok Sabha hurdle on FDI vote, it is time for it to face the heat in the Rajya Sabha where the debate on foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail will be taken up on Thursday. The House will vote on FDI on Friday.

The UPA will face stiff challenge in Rajya Sabha where it lacks majority and even a repetition of the walk-out act by 'friendly' parties like the SP and BSP might not make it simple for the ruling party.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely will initiate the debate in the Rajya Sabha at noon. The UPA government will be looking to the SP and BSP to bail it out again for the numbers are not in its favour. Even Independents will play a big role in influencing the final outcome in the Rajya Sabha debate.

Out of 245 members in the Rajya Sabha, the UPA has a strength of just 90. If the SP, BSP, LJP and RJD support it with 27 members, the government's tally will reach 117, which is still six short of the magic figure of 123. The Opposition, on the other hand, claims it has support of 110 members. In case the SP (9 members) and BSP (15 members) abstain from voting, the halfway mark will come down to 111. It will be a 50-50 possibility for either the government or the Opposition.

During the voting in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, 471 members out of 545 voted. Out of them, 253 voted against the BJP's motion while 218 voted in its favour. The halfway mark was brought down to 251 from 273 after the BSP and SP walked out.

Besides winning the FDI debate, the government also defeated a motion moved by the Trinamool Congress, its former ally, against amendments to the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to facilitate FDI in multi-brand retail. The Opposition parties had demanded the two issues to be put to voting separately but Speaker Meira Kumar ruled that the two issues could be put to debate together.

UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi expressed her happiness with the FDI vote result and was confident about the vote outcome in the Rajya Sabha.

OneIndia News

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