In what will come as a huge relief to the government, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati announced today that her party will vote in favour of the government during the vote on foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow.
Unlike in the Lok Sabha where the SP and the BSP abstaining was enough for them to win the vote, the UPA needed one of the two parties to actively vote with them in order to avoid defeat. The Samjwadi Party had already said that it would oppose the FDI in the Rajya Sabha.
Putting month-long speculations to rest, Mayawati came out in support of the government and declared that she will back the government and vote in favour of FDI.
The BSP leader, who had a tough time speaking, ripped into the Opposition and their alleged attempts to broker a political deal with her. However, she played cleverly safe when voicing her opinions about FDI. She categorically avoided placing her own opinions before the house. Instead she seemed to sum up the whole debate around FDI by listing out the arguments for and against it. Finally, she said that it won’t be right to arrive to a decision about the policy without giving it some more time or letting a trial run happen.
“And this is why I am with the government on the FDI issue,” she declared to loud table-thumping and approving hoots from the ruling party.
The BSP walked out of the Lok Sabha before it voted yesterday, helping the government that she gives external support to win the vote. This prompted the BJP's Sushma Swaraj to say, "It is not a question of BJP, this is not a communal issue. But the problem is the issue has now become FDI vs CBI... when the BSP wants support, they come to us and then we aren't communal. This dichotomy won't work."
Mayawati said that remark was ghatiya causing BJP benches in the Rajya Sabha to protest angrily. "We are often accused of being under pressure from CBI. This has become fashionable for the Opposition," she said. She condemned the language used by Swaraj against her party. The BSP leader also said that the BJP used CBI to frame her in the Taj Corridor case.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh voiced confidence that the FDI decision will get the approval in Rajya Sabha as Mayawati had indicated that her party would vote in the Upper House where a discussion on the issue began.