Retail FDI row: Trial of strength in Parliament set for next week

Ramgopal Yadav

A trial of strength over FDI in retail issue will be witnessed in Parliament next week, with the Lok Sabha deciding to have a discussion on December 4 and 5 on the issue under a rule that entails voting, a strident demand of the Opposition.

While Rajya Sabha will also have a similar discussion, the date and timings for it will be decided after consultations with various political parties.

The decision led to an end to the logjam in Parliament today on the issue which had paralysed proceedings for four days with the Left and the Right making a common cause.

Following an all-party meeting and discussions with UPA leaders, the government signalled its readiness for such a debate after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath held consultations with Leaders of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley yesterday which saw BJP sticking to its stand.

Four days after the Opposition paralysed the proceedings in both Houses of Parliament, the government relented on the issue by leaving the matter to be decided by the presiding officers.

This will be the first such trial of strength in the 15th Lok Sabha.

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There have been very rare occasions that a discussion of this sort on executive decision has taken place.

With SP and BSP giving support to the government in Lok Sabha and key ally DMK deciding to go with it to keep communal forces at bay, the Congress-led coalition is confident of its numbers.

"I have received 30 notices for discussion on FDI in multi-brand retail under Rule 184. I have admitted the motion to allow the discussion," the Speaker Meira Kumar said.

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