Gearing up for opposition attack on FDI during the upcoming Parliament session, the government on Friday asserted that it was ready to face any situation, including a no-confidence motion, even as it was reaching out to political parties to ensure passage of key bills.
It ruled out any possibility of mid-term polls, saying the government will last its full term of five years till 2014.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal and Information & Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, who were fielded before the media ahead of the Winter Session beginning November 22, said the government is ready to discuss any issue under any rule with the permission of the Chair.
“The Parliament session has a very heavy legislative agenda. We are reaching out to the various political parties to carry through these agenda in the four weeks that we have for the session,” said the Finance Minister.
He noted that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has met leaders of supporting parties and would be meeting UPA allies.
“We sincerely hope that the forthcoming session will be a productive one and many bills will be passed,” he said.
The important economic agenda includes amendment of the Insurance Bill to raise FDI cap from 26 to 49 per cent, Banking Regulation Amendment Bill and Direct Taxes Code.
When pointed out that the opposition was gearing up to target the government over FDI in multi-brand retail, Mr Tewari said, “if they want to corner us, we no objection. We are ready to discuss anything if the rules permit. But if Parliament is not allowed to function, it would not be good for Parliamentary democracy.”
To a question about Trinamool Congress, a former ally of the UPA, threatening to move No-Confidence Motion, Mr Sibal said, “It is the right of every political party to put any motion before the House. When the motion is brought before the House, we will face it.”
The Left parties have tabled a motion that will seek a vote on FDI. The main opposition BJP, its ally JD(U) as also Trinamool Congress, which parted ways with the UPA few months back on the issue, have also given notices.
To add to government’s discomfiture, sulking ally DMK is also not disclosing its stand on how it would vote either on such motions or the No-Confidence Motion, likely to be moved by Trinamool Congress.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi said in Chennai on Wednesday that his party’s stand on the FDI issue is a “suspense”.
Seeking to downplay the FDI matter, Mr Chidambaram said, “My suggestion is that not one issue should be blown out of proportion. There are many very important issues that concern the welfare of people and future of country.”
Mr Sibal said the government had clearly said that states which do not want to implement the decision were free not to do it. However, if some States want to implement FDI, other States should not object, he said.
When referred to speculation about early polls, Mr Tewari said that ever since the UPA-II had come to power, there had never been three months when there was no such talk.
“The government has been elected for five years. People have given mandate for five years. The government will last for five years,” he said.
His assertion came against the backdrop of Samajwadi Party releasing its first list of candidates for Lok Sabha polls.
At present, the government enjoys the support of about 265 MPs, including 18 of DMK, in the House of 545. With the support of Samajwadi Party (22) and BSP (21), the backing for the ruling coalition goes a little over 300, which is comfortable over the required 273 majority mark in Lok Sabha.
BSP and SP together or individually have not shown signs of withdrawing support so far.
Photo by: Rangnath Tiwari