With Mayawati backing UPA, will RS vote be just a formality?

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New Delhi, Dec 7: The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will vote in favour of the UPA government's decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail. This will settle the equation, which was looking tricky even 24 hours ago, easily in favour of the government. In the Lok Sabha, the government defeated the motion moved by the BJP against FDI by 253-218 votes on Wednesday.

BSP chief Mayawati announced on Thursday that all her 15 MPs in the Upper House would vote in favour of the UPA government. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath met top Congress leaders to take stock of the number game soon after Mayawati made her announcement. The UPA has 94 MPs and also nine (except Sachin Tendulkar who is playing in the Kolkata test match against England at the moment) of the 10 nominated MPs are expected to vote in its favour, which takes the number to 103.

The Rajya Sabha has 244 members but with the Samajwadi Party (9 MPs) expected to abstain from voting and Tendulkar absent, the House strength will reduce to 234 and the majority mark in that case will be 118. BSP's 15 MPs will increase the UPA's number to the magic figure.

However, the Congress will have to ensure that all its MPs are present in the House during the voting. An unwell Murli Deora will seek medical advice to try to be present while SM Krishna is set to return from abroad on Friday night. Janardhan Reddy, despite his illness, is also likely to vote. On the anti-FDI side, Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, who was recently expelled from the BJD, is likely to remain absent. Things can not be confirmed about suspended BJP MP Ram Jethmalani as well.

Mayawati said what is good about the FDI proposal is that it is compulsory for the state governments to implement them. She also said that her party considered whether it would back communal forces in the issue and added that the BSP wanted to vote in favour of the government keeping in mind the positives. "Important bills are pending, the government will get the excuse to escape important issues," she said. She attacked the BJP for criticising her walkout before the FDI vote in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, after seeing her motion against the FDI getting defeated in the House, had slammed the BSP for its 'dichotomy'. "...when the BSP wants support, they come to us and then we aren't communal," she said. Swaraj also said the BSP chief was pressurised through the CBI to toe the government's line. Mayawati hit back at Swaraj saying such charges were baseless.

The BJP said although the government managed to get its numbers, it was a moral defeat. The party leader in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, termed the government as a lame duck one, which needs support and help to run business.

The government, on the other hand, said its win in the Lok Sabha was a victory of pragmatism over politics.

OneIndia News

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