New Delhi: With the Lok Sabha Speaker’s all-party meeting failing to break the logjam on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail issue, Prime Minister (PM) Manmohan Singh has invited the top brass of main Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for a dinner on Thursday to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament in the winter session.
Singh had invited BJP parliamentary party chief L.K.Advani, leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley for a dinner on 17 November in his bid to reach out to the party. But the dinner was cancelled by the PM at Swaraj’s request in the wake of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s death.
The three BJP leaders have been invited again for the dinner on Thursday at the PM’s residence.
Singh, who returned from Cambodia late Tuesday night kept away from Speaker Meira Kumar’s all-party meeting on Wednesday afternoon as he was tired after the hectic foreign visit, people with knowledege of the development in prime minister’s office (PMO) said.
The government has made all efforts to ensure it has the required numbers in the Lok Sabha by reaching out to its allies and parties supporting it from outside. Singh has held dinner and luncheon meetings with allies Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) as well as outside supporters Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Though Trinamool Congress is still threatening to move a no-confidence motion inspite of clear indications from BJP and the Left as also other opposition parties that they will not support it, the government can face embarassment on FDI in multi-brand retail issue.
Almost the entire opposition appears to be united in pressing for a debate and voting on the issue, while the government is not in agreement.
The government is hopeful of finding a way out for smooth running of the Parliament session at Thursday’s dinner with the principle opposition party.