The UPA government looks all set to win the winter test in both Houses of Parliament. This comes after Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati declared that she will vote for the government on FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha.
Mayawati on Thursday turned the debate on FDI in the Rajya Sabha into an attack on the BJP. Maya attacked BJP leader Sushma Swaraj saying she had a 'sour grapes' syndrome. Sour grapes indeed it was for the BJP berating the BSP for its turn. "Yesterday they voted against FDI, today they are with FDI. They need to explain what happened overnight," BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad hit back.
The BJP now seems to be realising that in politics there are no permanent enemies or friends. If Mayawati led the charge against the UPA in the nuclear deal, she's been seen to be bailing out the UPA not just with outside support but recently in the Presidential election too. Her reward could be the passage of the SC/ST quota bill.
The government was certainly speaking the language of Mayawati. "Mayawati has voted against the politics of the BJP," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said.
It wasn't just relief for the government but for the investor too, with the Sensex soaring after Mayawati's announcement. As the debate comes to a conclusion on Friday, the government hopes it will send out the signal that India means business and that the world needs to invest in India.
In the vote bank politics of UP, the message that Mayawati was sending out is that she's willing to go to any lengths to get the SC/ST quota bill passed, even aligning with the UPA. But over the years, given the many U-turns, all political parties have taken over FDI in retail, the debate was reduced to one of compulsion over conviction where ideology is concerned.
After Mayawati's support to the UPA, there is also a possibility that the half way figure, that is 118 after SP's abstention, may go further down because the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, which is an alliance with the NDA in the state of Jharkhand abstained from the Lok Sabha vote on Wednesday. If JMM abstains in Friday's vote also, the half way mark remains 117 and the government gets that number.
Set for a victory on FDI in retail, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath has said that the government will also bring in legislations like FDI in insurance and pension in this session itself. "My confidence is based on the discussion I had with all the political parties including the BJP over the past 10 days that they have differences over one or two financial bills. We are trying to converge on that and we will converge. We will find convergence with the BJP and we will bring it in," Kamal Nath said.
The numbers in Rajya Sabha:
HOUSE STRENGTH - 244
FOR FDI 117
CONG (70) + NCP (7) + DMK (7) + OTH (7) + RJD (2) + NOM (9) + BSP (15)
AGAINST FDI 99
NDA (64) + LEFT (14) + TMC (9) + ADMK(5) + BJD(7)
After SP's abstention, the total strength comes down to 235 and the half way mark comes down to 118.
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