Winter Session on November 22, FDI issue expected to heat up proceedings


Govt in overdrive to ensure smooth functioning, has much legislative business to conduct

Ashhar Khan 
New Delhi

With various political groups threatening to raise the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) issue in Parliament, the Winter Session starting from November 22 is yet again going to be a stormy one. The Opposition has taken on its gladiatorial attire as serious threats have been made to the Congress led UPA government. Notices for discussion on FDI in Multi Brand Retail have already been sent to the Speaker’s office. The Government also has serious legislative business which it wants to see through in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament.

The Government is in an overdrive to ensure the smooth functioning of parliament especially after the last session was held in a limbo after the CAG report came out. The government wants to ensure that all the allies are on board with its view. The Prime Minister has already met with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh and Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati. Sources confirm that both the leaders have assured the Prime Minister that they will stand with the government in the house.

The government wants to ensure that it can withstand the onslaught from the opposition in the house. It faces two eminent dangers in the current session the first is that under which rule will the discussion on FDI in multi brand retail take place and the second which is far more serious if a no confidence motion is moved how will the government defeat the motion? Interestingly for the DMK sources say they will support the government on FDI in parliament but at a state level they will oppose it.

Congress spin doctors are already at work. The new Parliamentary Affairs minister Kamal Nath has been given the responsibility ensuring that members present in the House should ensure government’s majority. Secondly, he has been asked to be in touch will all the smaller parties. The Prime Minister hosted a dinner for the UPA allies on Friday night, the guestlist included Praful Patel of the NCP, TR Baalu of the DMK, Farooq Abdullah of the NC and Ajit Singh of RLD. There was suspense about the DMK’s position with regard to the FDI in multi-brand retail. However, at the dinner meeting DMK leader TR Baalu assured the government that if a vote was taken or if a No Confidence Motion comes up the DMK will back the government. The dinner was also attended by the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, her political secretary Ahmed Patel, Leader of Lok Sabha and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Defence Minister AK Antony and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

The UPA is also gearing up for an attack on the Bhartiya Janta Party, on the role of their president Nitin Gadkari. The UPA feels that this will isolate the BJP from the rest of the NDA. It also feels that other parties which are associated with the NDA will not be keen on a No Confidence Motion. Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari has already said “the government wants smooth functioning of the house we are ready to discuss all issues on the floor of the house.”

In a bid to reach out to the opposition the Prime Minister has invited the BJP for a dinner. This is to discuss the upcoming winter session. The government has also indicated that if need be the Prime Minister can give a statement in the House on FDI in multi brand retail. However, the problems of the government are not limited to FDI alone there several issues which have the ability of stalling Parliament. These include the recent violence in Assam, reservation in promotion, violence in Hyderabad and the creation of Telangana.

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