The Congress-led UPA Government on Wednesday easily won the vote on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail in the Lok Sabha. Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj’s motion for withdrawal of the government decision on FDI-in-retail was defeated by 253 votes against the motion, while 218 voted for the motion.
The government job was made a lot easier by the largescale abstention during the vote. While the SP (22 MPs) and BSP (21 MPs) walked out during the debate, as many as 30 MPs abstained during the vote, which
substantially brought down the half-way mark (236) in the House. In all, 471 MPs voted.
The House also rejected the motion seeking amendment to the rules notified by the RBI under Foreign Exchange Management Act to enable FDI in multi-brand retail. While 254 voted in favour of the government, 224 were against it. The motion was moved by Trinamool’s Saugata Roy.
The BJP was quick to point out that the government “had misused the CBI” in winning the vote in the House.
“This (the walkout by the SP, BSP) is only to be expected when the vote becomes FDI versus CBI,” said Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj in her scathing remarks against the Congress-led Government.
Swaraj added that though the UPA Government had won the vote on technical grounds, “it had lost the FDI battle morally”.
“Only the Congress, NCP, RLD, and RJD were for FDI-in-retail. If we go by their respective strengths, the 14 parties who spoke against FDI have a combined figure of 282 MPs whereas the four parties supporting it have a strength of 224 MPs,” the BJP leader said.
However, the Congress rejected the charge and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that he was happy that the “FDI policy that we put in place has the approval of this House (Lok Sabha)”.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi added: “We are happy about the win and not worried about the Rajya Sabha (vote).”
Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, however, slammed the government and said it was now reduced to minority.
“As against the majority figure of 271, the support was only 253 despite all attempts made by these selfish people. This government has lost its credibility. They must take fresh verdict from the people,” she said.