New Delhi: With major opposition parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left demanding discussion on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail under rules that entail voting, parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath has convened a meeting of all party leaders of both Houses of Parliament on Monday to discuss the issue.
“The parliamentary affairs minister informed us in the Rajya Sabha business advisory committee (BAC) that he will convene an all-party meeting on Monday. He also said he will talk to all party leaders in the Lok Sabha and meet them separately on that day. Then a final call will be taken on the issue,” CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters.
CPI leader D. Raja also said Nath had assured BAC that he would meet leaders of all parties on Monday.
However, Yechury made it clear that the Left parties would not budge from their position of seeking a debate on government’s decision to open up multi-brand retail to foreign investment under rules entailing voting.
Left parties have already moved notices under Rule 184 in the Lok Sabha and Rule 168 in the Rajya Sabha seeking disapproval of the government’s decision on the issue.
Under both rules, a debate is followed by voting on an issue. Yechury accused the government of “violating” its assurance given in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, respectively, by then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and commerce minister Anand Sharma in December last year that “FDI in retail would be implemented after consultations with all stakeholders, including political parties and state governments.” In this context, he said CPI(M) MPs on Wednesday submitted a notice of breach of privilege against Sharma for “contravention” of his assurance that the government had suspended allowing 51% FDI in multi-brand retail trade “till a consensus is developed through consultations among various stakeholders”.