The Congress-led UPA Government may eventually win the vote on FDI in multi-brand retail in the Lok Sabha, where it is being currently debated under Rule 184.
But if the sense of the House is anything to go by, the Lower House is already overwhelmingly against the FDI move.
With the exception of Kapil Sibal (Cong) and T K S Elangovan (DMK), all the speakers — Sushma Swaraj (BJP), Saugata Roy (TMC), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Dara Singh Chauhan (BSP) and Basudeb Acharia (CPM) — voiced strong reservations on the FDI in retail and warned the move could turn disastrous for the country.
Even SP chief Mulayam asked the government to keep the move in abeyance and said that a “country of Gandhi, Lohia and JP could not have allowed such a move”.
However, it was Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj who led the Opposition charge and said the government, through the present move, was reneging on a solemn commitment given to the Parliament. She also said the measure would render retailers jobless, impoverish farmers and hurt consumers.
She contended that as the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha in 2002, Manmohan Singh had opposed FDI in retail and questioned as to what had changed that the govt was so determined to implement it.
Dara Singh said the scheme did not appear to benefit the nation. But he also left a window open for the government when he said the scheme be first brought in Congress-ruled states.