RS vote to be close but govt confident


The vote on FDI in multi-brand retail in the Rajya Sabha is expected to be a touch-and-go affair given the stand of the key parties, even though the UPA sounded confident of a victory in the upper house after winning the vote in the Lok Sabha Wednesday.

"Everything will be fine in Rajya Sabha as well. I cannot tell you the exact numbers but we will have the majority, which you will see the day after tomorrow," minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajiv Shukla told The Indian Express.

After the SP and the BSP walked out of the Lok Sabha ahead of voting on Wednesday, the government's floor managers exuded confidence saying the two parties would do the same in the upper house as well.

Their abstention would bring the strength of the Rajya Sabha to 220 from 244. With cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, a nominated member, busy playing the third test match against England in Kolkata, the effective strength would come down to 219. Crisis managers of the government were confident that the UPA would be able to muster the majority mark of 110 for the vote to sail through there as well.

An analysis of the numbers in the upper house indicated that the UPA might be able to secure the support of 110 MPs, including the Congress (70), DMK (7), NCP (7), nominated (9 excluding Tendulkar), independents (7), RJD (2), J&KNC (2) and BPF, KC(M), LJP, MNF, NPF, and SDF, one each. The opposition parties, on the other hand, are likely to garner the support of 109 MPs including BJP (49), CPI(M) (11), Trinamool Congress (9), JD(U) (9), BJD (7), AIADMK (5), TDP (5), Shiv Sena (4), SAD (3), AGP (2), CPI (2), and Forward Bloc, INLD and JMM, one each.

While ruling party sources maintained that all the independents and the nominated MPs would vote en bloc for the ruling dispensation, BJP sources said they were expecting two independents and two nominated members to vote against FDI in multi-brand retail. The opposition's calculations in the Lok Sabha had, however, gone awry Wednesday.

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