With the fourth day of the winter session of Parliament also washed out due to opposition insistence on a debate and vote on FDI, the Congress has been carefully setting its own house in order to ensure that it has the numbers to withstand a vote, if it comes to that, in the end.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stopped by clamouring journalists for a few seconds to say, “We are confident of numbers”, while Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath added that the UPA stood united on the issue, and that he would convey the same to the speaker.
Although the government will not fall if it loses a discussion-and-vote in Parliament, it would not only be a crippling embarrassment, but would also give the opposition an upper hand in its sustained refusal to accept FDI in retail.
The Congress has still not officially agreed to a vote, but given the fact that no work has been conducted in either house of Parliament, it may soon be faced with the choice of either agreeing to the vote, or losing the entire winter session.
And perhaps with an eye on this, the Congress floor managers have been working overtime to ensure that it does not lose a vote, although they have not formally agreed to one as yet.
Their efforts have clearly not been in vain. UPA allies DMK and NCP said today that they would support the government in the event of a vote.
“When this discussion comes in the Parliament, though there may be thousands of differences (between the UPA and the DMK on the issue), thinking about the unfavourable incidents that may emerge if this government falls at the Centre, it has been decided to support the UPA with bitterness”, DMK Chief M Karunanidhi said in a three-page statement.
“Considering all these things and if suppose a dangerous situation arises to the UPA in Parliament, ‘communal forces’ like BJP and other like minded parties may benefit out of it”, he added according to a PTI report.
Earlier both the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samajwadi Party said that they would either support the government, or abstain from voting so as to ensure that it does not lose.
In addition to FDI on retail, Parliament is scheduled to consider and pass 25 bills, including the Companies Bill 2011, The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011 as well as introduce 10 new bills including one pertaining to the ‘indecent representation of women’.