Ahead of the crucial winter session of Parliament starting next week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday hosted a dinner for UPA leaders in a bid to firm up a joint strategy on various issues, including FDI in retail, which are likely to be raked by the Opposition.
Singh's dinner with UPA leaders comes close on the heels of his similar interactions with leaders of crucial outside supporters Samajwadi Party and BSP. He hosted dinner for SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh last week and followed it with lunch for BSP chief Mayawati on Sunday.
There is a view within the government that no business could be transacted on the first two days of the winter session of Parliament starting November 22, but it is hopeful that some solution will be found out and Parliament can have normal functioning from the following week.
Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath is learnt to have told the allies at Friday's dinner that it is being examined if a motion for or against a government's executive order can be voted or not by Parliament. The allies, however, did not raise any specific issue on FDI.
Besides UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, defence minister AK Antony, finance minister P Chidambaram and home minister Sushilkumar Shinde among those who attended Friday's dinner included TR Balu of DMK, Farooq Abdullah of National Conference, Praful Patel of NCP, Ajit Singh of RLD and E Ahamed of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). The Prime Minister is reaching out to allies and outside supporters as the government faces the prospect of a motion entailing voting on FDI and even a possible threat of No-Confidence Motion.
The Left parties have tabled a motion that will seek a vote on FDI. The main opposition BJP, its ally JD(U) as also Trinamool Congress, which parted ways with the UPA few months back on the issue, have also given notices.