After accepting the opposition parties’ demand for a parliamentary vote on foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, the government is now trying to persuade the BJP to ensure a smooth run for the House and lawmaking during the remaining 16 working days of the winter session.
The government had no objection to a debate under a voting provision in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha but in turn expected the BJP to allow Parliament to function, parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath is reported to have told Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley on Wednesday.
The government was free to run the House once it allows the FDI vote, Swaraj, the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, is believed to have said.
“Presiding officers can take any decision they want in the interest of running Parliament,” Nath said after meeting Swaraj and Jaitley. The two leaders, however, insisted that the ministers meet them on specific bills, including those involving key reforms, so that the party could communicate its position.
"We have said Parliament will function only after a debate under Rule 184. The Prime Minister said he is confident of getting the majority. If the numbers are in your (UPA) favour then why don't you go for voting on the issue?" Swaraj said.
The UPA plans to push for amendments to insurance, pension, banking and companies laws among others during the ongoing session. The BJP would not support the insurance bill, party leader Yashwant Sinha had told HT earlier.
But, Parliament's smooth functioning is not guaranteed even if the UPA and NDA are on the same page given the Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party's opposing positions on the SC/ST promotion bill among others and Trinamool Congress's maverick approach.
The two key Uttar Pradesh parties have even linked their position on FDI to the promotion quota bill -- the BSP supports it but the SP is dead set against it. The Lok Sabha is expected to debate FDI on December 4.