Logjam over, FDI vote in both Houses

FP

The discussion was then scheduled for December 4 and 5. This will be followed by a discussion under rule 168 in the Rajya Sabha. The timing will be decided later.

Kumar's announcement was preceded by a meeting of home minister and leader of the house Sushilkumar Shinde, Kamal Nath and Swaraj in her chamber. "I welcome the decision...I assure you of smooth functioning of the house," Swaraj said after the Speaker's announcement.

The Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day due to disruptions. However, Chairman Hamid Ansari announced his decision to allow a discussion under rule 168, which provides for voting. Jaitley, CPI(M) floor leader Sitaram Yechury and CPI leader D Raja had earlier pleaded with Ansari to admit a motion under this rule.

Citing the decision of the Lok Sabha speaker, they wondered how the Rajya Sabha could get "step-motherly" treatment. They pointed out that Rajya Sabha, being the council of states, had a more relevant role in the wake of the government position that the states were free to allow or bar FDI in multi-brand retail. Since the government had taken the line that the final decision will be that of the presiding officers, Ansari opted for voting.

The SP's ambivalence was in full-play as the party leader in the upper house, Ramgopal Yadav, said his party will vote against FDI in the Rajya Sabha. The SP has 21 members in the Lok Sabha and nine in the Rajya Sabha. Asked about the party's stance in the Lok Sabha, he said, "Ask our leaders in Lok Sabha," and added that there were instances of a party voting differently in the two houses.

However, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was not as categorical. "As far as FDI is concerned our party is strongly opposed to it," he said. About the stand of the party in Parliament, he said, "In politics, the future cannot be foretold...decisions are taken according to situations."

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