BSP supremo continues to negotiate with the government on her support. Her focus on constitutional amendment for SC/ST promotion in government jobs
As Parliament prepares to debate merits and demerits of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail on 4 and 5 December, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati, an external ally of UPA government, is still flip-flopping on her stand on the issue. Warning the government that FDI in retail without any clauses would be akin to inviting foreign enterprises to earn maximum profits out of India, Mayawati on 3 December, said that the only good thing about the government’s decision was that it was not being imposed on any unwilling state. She also conveyed her fears of the FDI affecting the local farmers, retailers and the middle class. But she refused to disclose whether her party would vote in support of FDI in retail or oppose it in the Parliament.
Tehelka’s Special Correspondent Ashhar Khan reports from the national capital that hectic negotiations are on between the BSP and the government. “BSP has sent feelers to the government that it will support the government in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on the issue of FDI in retail, provided the government pushes for Constitution Amendment Bill on promotions for SC/STs in government job,” he said. The government has responded to this request by saying that at the moment, it is difficult to bring in the amendments through but “We are committed to Constitution Amendment Bill on promotions for SC/STs in government jobs,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told reporters. Sources told TEHELKA that the other ally of the government from Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party, is expected to bail out the government in the Parliament. Though the party has announced its decision to vote against the government in Rajya Sabha, sources says that it will probably abstain from voting, thus helping the government.
TEHELKA Special Correspondent from Lucknow Virendra Nath Bhatt adds that Mayawati is using the FDI issue as a bargaining chip. “A regional player, Mayawati thinks of issues with a regional perspective. She is using the FDI in retail issue to strengthen her support base by pushing for amendments in the rules for promotion of SC/STs.” Bhatt also points out that in 2007, BSP government in UP had supported opening of Reliance Fresh stores in the state.