After losing the first week of the winter session in Parliament to disruption, the government is bracing for more opposition salvo next week as the Left parties and the BJP are mulling adjournment motions on Monday against the Union Cabinet's decision to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail.
On Friday, the two Houses could only condemn the attack on agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. Trinamool Congress, key ally of the UPA, too joined opposition parties in both the Houses to protest against FDI in retail. The uproar once again resulted in adjournment for the day.
In Rajya Sabha, members even tore copies of commerce minister Anand Sharma’s statement.
The UPA floor managers doubt if they can kick-start the government business from Monday, as envisaged earlier.
Ironically, both Trinamool and its arch rival CPI(M) are opposed to the UPA's decision on FDI in retail. "Our leader Mamata Banerjee is clear that nothing should be done that could harm the farmers and common man. We raised the issue in Parliament on Friday. We will continue to raise the issue," Trinamool leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury demanded: "The decision on FDI should be kept in suspension. Let there be a discussion on the issue in Parliament and sense of the Houses be taken as most parties are opposed to this FDI decision."
He said, "We’ll only welcome FDI where it fulfils three conditions: augment capacity, bring new technology and generate employment. FDI in retail won’t fulfil any of these conditions."
The government, however, has put up a brave face. Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said, "We had to give a signal that the government is not sitting idle and there is no policy paralysis. We are ready to defend our decision in Parliament."
Bansal also pointed out that as per the Rules of Lok Sabha only one adjournment motion can be taken up during a session. The opposition has already asked for an adjournment motion on black money.
Slamming the timing of the decision, Yechury said, "This is unprecedented that when Parliament is in session the cabinet takes such a decision.”