SP, BSP mellow stand, BJP sticks to voting rule
Taking an independent line, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has already given a notice for a discussion under both Rules 184 and 193. BJD MP B Mahtab told The Indian Express, "We have given notice under both 184 and 193, but I don't see why the government should not agree to a discussion under 184. We are against FDI in multi-brand retail."
What was reassuring for the government was that the SP and BSP both were on the same page at Monday's meeting. The Bill providing for SC/ST reservation in promotions in government jobs — which the BSP backs and SP opposes — was incidentally listed in the Rajya Sabha only hours before the meeting.
The SP had vociferously opposed allowing FDI in multi-brand retail and therefore, the government was sceptical about its stand. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier in the day. Emerging from the all-party meeting, where he said the Bill was against the interest of 82 per cent of the people, SP leader Reoti Raman Singh said: "We want a debate on FDI, but the Speaker should decide the rules under which it should be held." The SP has reportedly conveyed that it would prefer discussions without voting.
BSP supremo Mayawati spoke on similar lines: "We want the House to run. We want a debate on FDI but leave it to the presiding officer on what rule it should be debated under."
Given the SP's reservations, the UPA allies' meeting on Tuesday could be crucial as the government seeks to keep its flock together in the Lok Sabha and especially the Rajya Sabha.
The DMK has conveyed to the government that they would prefer discussions without voting. "We have conveyed the concerns of the trading community and the farmers. We will take a decision (on voting) after the government firms up its course of actions," said TR Baalu.