In a debate moderated by TIMES NOW's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, panelists -- Ravi Shankar Prasad, Deputy Leader of Oppn, Rajya Sabha & Chief Natl Sokesperson, BJP; Sanjay Nirupam, Natl Spokesperson & MP, Loksabha, Congress; Kamal Faruqui, Natl Secy, SP; Kumar Ketkar, Chief Editor, Daily Divya Marathi, Bhaskar Group; Swapan Dasgupta, Senior Journalist; and D Raja, MP, Rajya Sabha, CPI -- discuss the issue of Lok Sabha approving FDI in retail and rejecting the motion of the Opposition, Mulayam and Mayawati coming to the rescue of the Govt, and whether the Govt has now become even more dependent on SP and BSP after the FDI vote.
FDI in multi-brand retail on Wed (Dec 5) got the approval of the Lok Sabha as the Oppn motion seeking immediate withdrawal of the decision was rejected convincingly as BSP and SP walked out. 218 voted in favour of the Oppn motion, while 253 voted against it in the House where 471 members participated in the voting. The total strength of the House is 545. The House also rejected the motion seeking amendment to the rules notified by the Reserve Bank under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to enable FDI in multi-brand retail. While 254 voted in favour of the govt, 224 were against. Members of SP and BSP, with respective strength of 22 and 21, did not participate in the voting as they walked out alleging that interests of farmers and small retailers had been ignored. Leader of the Oppn Sushma Swaraj, who had moved the motion, maintained that majority of the House was against FDI in retail which was reflected in speeches of leaders of different political parties. Rejecting the allegations of Sushma Swaraj that CBI was used to ensure that SP and BSP do not vote against the govt, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said, " this is a rejection of the politics of the BJP. They had FDI in their manifesto. Swaraj has lost her cool because the motion moved by her has got defeated. She is frustrated".