Mulayam's Samajwadi Party jolts UPA, threatens to vote against FDI in Parliament

Mulayam Ramgopal
Key UPA supporter Samajwadi Party today sent mixed signals keeping everyone guessing on how it would vote on the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail in Parliament next week.

"We will vote against FDI in Rajya Sabha if the government brings it there," SP leader in the Upper House Ramgopal Yadav told reporters in Parliament complex in the morning when it became clear the issue would be voted.

Asked if the party will vote against FDI in Lok Sabha, he shot back, "Ask our leaders from Lok Sabha."

When queried whether the party could have different positions in the two Houses, he said, "This happens many times. This has happened in the past also."

However, hours later SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose party has 22 memmbers in the Lok Sabha and 9 in Rajya Sabha, was not that forthright on the party's stand when he spoke to reporters in Lukcnow.

"As far as FDI issue is concerned, our party is strongly opposed to it," he said.

When pressed on what stand his party would take in the parliament, "In politics, the future cannot be foretold. Decisions are taken as per the situation".

His son and UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav that the decision on voting would be taken by the party president.

"On the FDI issue, it would be decided in the House," he said.

SP leaders have been saying that the party will oppose FDI but have remained ambiguous on voting.

On whether there was a communication gap between party leaders in the two Houses, Ramgopal Yadav replied, "Sometimes it is deliberate".

In Rajya Sabha, UPA does not have the numbers on its own.

In a House with an effective strength of 244 in the Upper House, UPA and its allies have 94 members.

The ten nominated members may go ahead to vote with the government. In addition, three or four Independent MPs may also back the government.

BSP, which extends outside support to UPA, has 15 members and it has said that it will disclose its stand on the issue on the floor of the House.

Asked about the party's opposition to the Bill on reservation in promotion for SC/ST officials, Ramgopal Yadav said, "We are talking about safeguarding the interests of 80 per cent people of the country and at the same time, we are not against the interests of the rest 20 per cent also."

He said the party was in favour of reservation in jobs but "We don't support reservation in promotion in government jobs. This proposal is wrong and unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has rejected it and it would be wrong to implement it by forming a law."

Yadav said SP has informed the government that it will oppose the Bill in Parliament. "Our strength in Rajya Sabha may be less but when it comes up for discussion, we will oppose it. We will not let it to be cleared. We are committed on this issue," the SP leader said.

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