New Delhi: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath met leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to end the logjam on FDI in retail Wednesday, a day after the UPA firmed up its numbers in parliament and the opposition pressed for voting on the issue.
All parties wanted parliament to run smoothly, Kamal Nath said after the meeting. Referring to the all-party meeting held on 26 November, he said, "The second thing that emerged was that everyone wants discussion on FDI."
"But a larger number (of political parties) are not concerned whether the discussion is held with voting or without voting," added the minister after his talks with Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley.
The talks, Kamal Nath said, were part of the effort to ensure that the two houses functioned smoothly.
"We have left the decision with the speaker," he added.
"Presiding officers should take any decision they want in the interest of running parliament," Kamal Nath said.
Sushma Swaraj asked why the government was not going ahead with voting on the contentious issue if it was confident of its numbers.
"...it has become necessary for us now to voice our opinions and for that we need to vote," she told reporters after her meeting Kamal Nath.
"We have clearly said that the parliament will function only after a debate under Rule 184 and we are requesting the same today. The PM (Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) has said that he is confident of getting the majority and that the DMK is also supporting the government...if the numbers are in your favour then why don't you go for voting on the issue," she said.
There have been disruptions in the house by the BJP and others parties over the government pushing foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail. The opposition has insisted on a debate over the issue under rules that entail voting.
The government Tuesday expressed confidence that it had the numbers to counter the opposition in parliament on a debate over FDI in retail
It got a shot in the arm after the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and its erstwhile partner Trinamool Congress said that they had left on the presiding officers of the two houses the decision over the rules under which the debate on the issue should be held.