Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut says that FDI in retail is a bid by the government to sell off the country. Citing Bofors, 2G spectrum and coal scams, the Shiv Sena leader said, "Till now the government has looted the country, but now it wants to sell it off."
7:57 pm: Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 11 am on Friday.
7:00 pm: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut says that FDI in retail is a bid by the government to sell off the country. Citing Bofors, 2G spectrum and coal scams, the Shiv Sena leader said, "Till now the government has looted the country, but now it wants to sell it off."
Raut accused the government of extending red carpet to 'Walmart'. He further said that till now, just the farmers were committing suicide, now small businessmen would do the same.
6:46 pm: Speaking about the issue of FDI in the Rajya Sabha, CPM leader CP Narayanan from Kerala said that the government's decision would not help the country in any way and was meant to serve certain interests.
5:22 pm: Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Venkaiah Naidu alleges that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, which is in a minority, does not want a debate on the issue of foreign direct investment (FDI).
4:42 pm: Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav has said that his party woul walk out during the voting on FDI in multi-brand retail in Rajya Sabha. "We will not vote with the government," said Yadav.
3:25 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien said genuine reforms were not bringing FDI in retail but about developing the infrastructure. "Before FDI there needs to be infrastructure. UPA is like a property developer who is decorating a drawing room, without constructing the building," Derek said.
2:50 pm: BSP chief Mayawati will vote in favour of the government during the FDI in retail vote in the Rajya Sabha. The BSP supremo made her decision clear during the FDI debate in the Rajya Sabha saying her party took in consideration the fact that FDI will not be forced upon the states.
2:40 pm: BSP chief Mayawati finally came to the issue of FDI in retail and hinted at supporting the government by speaking against the BJP. Speaking during the FDI debate in the Rajya Sabha, Mayawati said, "It is important to see in which sector foreign investment will be done. For any developing country, investment in all sectors is important." "FDI is needed for developing countries. FDI should do value addition," Mayawati added.
She also said that there is a perception in people's minds that FDI affect farmers and small traders, therefore, no decision should be taken without proper analysis and discussion. But she added that the plus point for the current FDI policy of the central government is that sates won't be forced to implement it.
2:20 pm: BSP chief Mayawati attacked the BJP alleging it used the CBI against her. During the FDI debate in the Rajya Sabha, Mayawati said, "CBI's misuse by this government has often been alleged. I would show how BJP misused CBI." Mayawati alleged that the BJP used the CBI to target her in the Taj corridor scam.
Following this, there was an uproar in the House as Mayawati's speech had no mention of FDI in retail. The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for 10 minutes following this.
2:00 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party during the FDI debate in the Rajya Sabha. Mayawati said Sushma Swaraj was suffering from the 'sour grapes' syndrome.
There was an uproar in the House as BJP MPs objected to Mayawati's comment on Sushma Swaraj. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath defended Mayawti's comment saying usie of the word 'sour grapes' was not unparliamentary.
1:45 pm: BJP leader Arun Jaitley countered facts and figures given by the UPA for endorsing FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha. Jaitley said that UPA's entire debate on FDI was based on deceptive and exaggerated figures.
He also demanded the government to reconsider FDI and withdraw it. He also appealed to the Parliamentarians to vote against FDI in retail.
1:13 pm: BJP leader Arun Jaitley slammed the government over FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha and said that the people of India will vote against the UPA if it brings FDI. "If India implements FDI in retail, India will become a country of sales boys, the manufacturing sector will collapse, all the stores will be of international firms. We will be consumers of international products," Jaitley added.
1:00 pm: BJP leader Arun Jaitley criticised FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha saying it will not benefit local shops. "Domestic retails source their product domestically, international retails source their products internationally where the products are the cheapest," Jaitley said.
"Manufacturing sector will be the first adversely affected sector where there is FDI in retail," he added. Jaitley also challenged Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal to get an international retail store opened in his constituency.
12:50 pm: Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley called the UPA a lame duck government saying, "You are a lame duck government. You need a strong support now," Jaitley said.
"When the government is not able to touch the 272 figure in the Lok Sabha, then a lot is questionable. To reach this number one has to take assistance from many and reach to some understandings. This is a worrying situation," Jaitley added.
12:45 pm: Law Minister Ashwani Kumar cited Walmart China's example during the debate on FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha. "Walmart went to China 20 years ago, it amounts to 5 per cent of the market in China. It procures 60 per cent of the global procurement from China, so China benefits the most," he said.
12:35 pm: The government refuted the Opposition's claims that FDI will not benefit farmers. "The small and marginal farmers will be the biggest beneficiaries of this policy. The farming community will have a lot to rejoice if this policy is implemented ," Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said in the Rajya Sabha.
12:20 pm: Questioning the government's change of stand on FDI, AIADMK leader V Maitreyan said, "When Manmohan Singh was in the opposition, he opposed FDI in retail, when he is in power, he becomes the prime promoter of FDI in retail. What brought a drastic change in the opinion of PM Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi towards FDI in retail?"
Speaking against FDI in retail, Maitreyan said, "The government is spreading a wrong myth that FDI in retail will bring in employment. "
12:05 pm: AIADMK leader V Maitreyan moved motion on FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha ad initiated the debate.
Earlier, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) objected to the papers being laid on the FEMA regulations. BJP said the minister needed to explain the regulations as FEMA has far reaching implications.
11:05 am: The Trinamool Congress has compared the debate on FDI to match-fixing saying that a minority government has no locus standi to fix the debate. "Match fixing won't do, minority government won't be allowed to fix debate. The government has to go," TMC leader Derek O'Brien said.
The Samajwadi Party has said that it will not vote in favour of the government on FDI. SP leader Naresh Aggarwal said, "We won't vote in the Rajya Sabha in favour of the government. We won't make our stand clear on walking out."
Meanwhile, AIADMK leader V Maitreyan said the Opposition was prepared for any eventuality in the Rajya Sabha. "Whether debate will go to vote we don't know. The Opposition is prepared for any eventuality. If the arithmetic is clear, the Oppositionn will win," Maitreyan said.
The UPA-II government has won the winter test in the Lok Sabha, defeating the Opposition motions over FDI in retail and changes in Foreign Exchange Management Act. But now its time for an acid test in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is not in a majority.
There were enough indications that the government will have it easy in Lok Sabha when it puts to vote the contentious issue of bringing in FDI in multi-brand retail into India. The going got better when the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party walked out before the actual vote after making noise against FDI. "FDI is anti-farmer, so we decided to walk out instead of voting against it," SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said.
With the UPA managing its numbers well, the battle has been won, but the question is whether it can win the war. The bigger hurdle will now come in the Rajya Sabha where the government has already been accused of diversionary tactics to avoid an uncomfortable vote.
The UPA is likely to take advantage of SP and BSP's disruptive politics in the House, that is the charge being levelled by the Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley. Jaitley said, "The government is unsure of which way the Rajya Sabha vote will go. Therefore, it has no serious intention of allowing the Rajya Sabha conduct its business."
"This government has a terrible track record in the last few days. It wasted the first four days of this session of Pariament because it did not allow a vote and thereafter when it did agree to allow a vote on the FDI resolution, it's either the government members or it's the ruling party members or their allies who jump into the well every morning at 11 and since they are uncomfortable with the number situation in the Rajya Sabha, not a minute of work has been transacted in the Rajya Sabha. The entire opposition and that's the real opposition from the Left or the right is waiting quietly wanting the Question Hour to go on, wanting the zero hour and the debates to go on. It's only the government or its allies who are disturbing the House," Jaitley said.
The government has refuted those charges being levelled by Arun Jaitely claiming the opposition is behaving a like bad loser. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already declared that the FDI policy has been cleared. The government is confident of getting the numbers in the Rajya Sabha where the arithmetic is not as clear as it was in the Lok Sabha. "We will manage the numbers in the Rajya Sabha also," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said.
Meanwhile, RJD chief Lalu Prasad also hit out at the BJP saying, "BJP has never been a party that serves the farmers. It was BJP that had brought 100 per cent FDI proposal in 2004. They failed to implement it, but Congress succeeded."
The numbers in Rajya Sabha:
HOUSE STRENGTH - 244
CONG (70) + DMK (7) + NCP (7) + OTH (6)
BSP (15) + SP (9) + RJD (2)
NDA (66) + LEFT (14) + TMC (9) + OTH (29)
Does govt have the numbers?
FOR FDI = 102
UPA 91 + RJD 2 + NOM 9
UPA SHORT OF 20
AGAINST FDI = 101
NDA (66) + LEFT (14) + TMC (9) + ADMK 7 + BJD 5
OPPOSITION SHORT OF 21
UPA OUTSIDE SUPPORT = 24
BSP (15) + SP (9)
If this group votes for FDI
FOR FDI NUMBER INCREASES = 126
IF SP+BSP VOTE AGAINST
AGAINST FDI = 125
BUT IF THIS GROUP ABSTAINS
HOUSE STRENGTH - 220
FOR FDI = 102 (SHORT OF 8)
AGAINST FDI = 101 (SHORT OF 7)