FDI LS debate: Don't take SP support for granted, says Yadav

Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said that his party’s support for FDI in retail should not be taken for granted even in the Lok Sabha, and strongly hinted that they would abstain rather than vote for the measure.

Speaking to the Times Now channel Yadav said, “Our final stand on FDI will only be decided after listening to the logic of the government, the arguments of the government, and what benefits they say it will give the country”. However he added that it was already a foregone conclusion that it would not be implemented in Uttar Pradesh, “no matter what Delhi decides”.

The role of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which support the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government from outside, are crucial in the debate.

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Yadav surprised everyone last week by saying: “If there is a vote on FDI in Rajya Sabha, we will vote against it. We will not let it pass.”

It was always taken for granted however, that the party would support the government in the Lok Sabha. But Yadav has cast doubt even on that. “It should not be taken for granted that we will support it. We are inclined to not support it even in the Lok Sabha”, he told Times Now.

His comments come hours after BSP chief Mayawati said that her party does not support FDI and would decide how to vote on the “floor of house” on Wednesday.

“Inviting FDI in retail without clauses for the use of local produce would mean an invitation to foreigners to earn maximum profits here. FDI in retail will affect farmers and small traders,” she told reporters in Lucknow.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said: “We are in touch with both the SP and the BSP. We hope they will vote in favour of FDI in retail.”

Of the total 245 members in the Rajya Sabha, the UPA has a strength of 90. With 27 outside supporters from the BSP, SP, Lok Janshakti Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the government tally stands at 117 as against the magical 123 figure for majority.

The opposition claims the support of 110 members. Besides, there are seven independents, five from smaller parties and 10 nominated.