Thursday, December 1, 2011

Parliament adjourned again, PM stays firm on FDI

New Delhi, December 01, 2011

First Published: 09:42 IST(1/12/2011)

government\'s most important ally, said it was opposed to foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail. \"Our stand remains the same. We want discussion,\" Trinamool leader Sudip Bandopadhyaya told reporters after a meeting with the Prime Minister. Bandopadhyaya claimed the Prime Minister would consult allies before taking major policy decisions.

In the Lok Sabha, some Trinamool Congress MPs came into the well of the House and shouted slogans against in FDI in retail.

The DMK, which attened the meeting with the Prime Minister, wants a discussion on FDI in retail in Parliament, said party MP T Siva.

Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, president of National Conference, did not speak to reporters after the meeting but his party is with the government.

In a familiar routine, both houses of parliament were adjourned for the eighth day without any business being transacted as opposition MPs relentlessly pursued their demand for a rollback of the decision to permit foreign investment in retail.

In the Lok Sabha, trouble erupted soon after Speaker Meira Kumar made obituary reference to former member Harish Kumar Gangawar of the Congress and read out a message on World AIDS Day. But that peace was short-lived.

The government has refused to withdraw its cabinet decision to allow 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 percent in single-brand retail and the opposition is equally unblinking, asking it to reverse the policy or face continuing disruptions. The Prime Minister is believed to have told allies again that the government won\'t roll back its decision.

Trinamool Congress MPs were seen standing in the aisles protesting the FDI decision. Buoyed by the cracks in the ruling combine, BJP members, some of them smiling, were also up on their feet, raising slogans and demanding an adjournment motion on the issue.

Left members, ideologically opposed to any market reforms, also demanded that the policy needed to be reversed.

Congress members from Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh raised the decibel level demanding a separate state of Telangana.

MPs from Kerala also walked towards Meira Kumar\'s podium demanding a new dam downstream of the leaking Mullaperiyar dam. They say the leakage has threatened the safety of more than three million people living in five districts of the state.

AIADMK members from Tamil Nadu were on the other side of the podium seeking implementation of the Supreme Court order on raising the storage level of the Mullaperiyar dam to 142 feet.

Meira Kumar tried to take the Question Hour but the din led her to adjourn the house till noon. When the ruckus continued after the house met again, she adjourned it for the day.

There was similar chaos in the Rajya Sabha. As Chairman Hamid Ansari called for Question Hour, opposition MPs were already shouting slogans against the FDI decision in retailing.

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Satish Chandra Mishra said an adjournment notice had already been given to suspend business and take up discussion on the government\'s new policy.

Ansari adjourned the house till noon first and then for the day.

This was the fourth day of the logjam in parliament over the FDI issue. In fact, no substantial business has been conducted in the winter session of parliament that began Nov 22 because of adjournments over price rise, FDI, Telangana and other issues.

The stalemate is costing the nation - not only is tax payers\' money being wasted on account of parliament budgetary allocations but key legislations are also awaiting approval from the houses.

The 21-day winter session - eight days of which have already been wasted - was scheduled to consider and pass 31 key bills, including the anti-graft Lokpal Bill.

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