Eager to put the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on the mat over foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, the Opposition is recalibrating its strategy for the coming winter session of Parliament.
The four Left parties have already moved a notice under Rule 184 for a motion, which entails voting after a discussion. The Left parties will meet in the capital tomorrow to work out an alternative strategy, in case the motion is not admitted by the Lok Sabha speaker. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the principal Opposition, has also moved a notice under the Rule 184, seeking a discussion on FDI in retail followed by voting.
This rethink on the part of the Left parties has been prompted by several senior leaders within the Left, who have urged that an alternative plan should be mooted to corner UPA.
A senior Left leader, who did not want to be identified, questioned: “Why should we bank on this motion alone? What happens if it is not admitted? Should we not also move a notice for having a short duration discussion under Rule 193 as well? (Rule 193 does not entail any voting.) Then, we can still force the government to have a discussion on FDI in multi- brand retail.”
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) parliamentary party leader in the Lok Sabha, Basudeb Acharia, told Business Standard: “We have already put in a notice to move a motion in the house titled ‘The house disapproves the decision of the government to allow FDI in multi-brand retail.’ But we (Left parties) will be meeting again tomorrow to further strategise, plan out alternatives just in case the motion under Rule 184 is not admitted.”
BJP has declared it would support notices given by members of Left parties and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to corner the UPA. “We have given several notices under Rule 183 and 184, which will allow voting. We support the notices of Left parties and other political parties as well,” a senior BJP leader said, also on condition of anonymity.
BJP leaders are even willing to support a no-confidence motion if Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee decides to bring in one.
“To bring a no-confidence motion, Banerjee will need at least 50 MPs (members of Parliament). TMC has only 19 MPs. We have to see how TMC will bring a no-confidence motion and which political parties will support Banerjee. BJP could support TMC,” said another senior BJP leader, who also did not want to be named.
BJP leaders believe they would be able to put greater pressure on UPA if there is a discussion and voting on the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail rather than bringing a no-trust motion, which will eventually bring Samajwadi Party, Bahujan samaj Party and even the Left together to side with UPA.
“The BJP parliamentary board will meet on November 20 under the chairmanship of L K Advani in Delhi to fine-tune its strategy,” said M Venkaiah Naidu, a senior BJP leader. At the same time, BJP will talk to leaders of all Opposition parties after a meeting of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on November 21.
The BJP leadership on Thursday announced that it would also hold a Halla Bol (attack) rally on November 21, a day before the winter session of Parliament, which will be led by senior party leaders across the country, targeting the UPA government on issues ranging from increase in fuel prices to FDI in retail.