New Delhi: The Winter Session of Parliament beginning today is expected to generate a lot of heat over the issue of FDI in retail with friend-turned-foe Trinamool Congress already handing over notice for no-confidence motion to Speaker.
12.45 pm: Lok Sabha adjourned till 2 pm amidst uproar over no-trust motion.
BJP demands discussion on FDI in retail in Lok Sabha under rule which entails voting.
12.35 pm: No-confidence motion moved by Trinamool Congress over FDI disallowed in Lok Sabha.
TMC gets less than 50 MPs to back its no confidence motion over FDI in multi brand retail. No other party seemed to back the motion.
12.05 pm: Lok Sabha adjourned till 12.30. LS Speaker Meira Kumar says, "I have received the no-confidence motion, but the house has to be in order. I have to count 50 MPs."
12.00 noon: Lok Sabha resumes, sloganeering and shouting continues unabated; Rajya Sabha adjourned till tomorrow.
11.40 am: Both houses adjourned till noon
11.25 am: Lok Sabha adjourned till noon.
11.20 am: Question Hour begins so does uproar in Lok Sabha.
The stage is set for a stormy winter session beginning with a united opposition firm on discussion on FDI in retail under a rule that entails voting, a demand the government is not ready to accept at least for now.
Ahead of winter session of Parliament, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday urged the opposition parties to come together and discuss all issues and challenges facing the nation. "I invite all political parties to join hands in this vital national endeavour," said the
"We all have an obligation, in opposition as well as in government, to work together to enable our parliamentary democracy," he said.
"We need to increase investments in infrastructure sectors and social services like health and education to accelerate economic growth," he added.
Manmohan Singh also said that the government was ready to discuss all issues on the floor of both the Houses.
"Our Parliament has a very heavy Legislative agenda during the Winter Session. I seek cooperation from my colleagues in the House," he also added.
An all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on the eve of the winter session saw the Opposition making common cause on the issue of FDI in retail accusing the government of violating the assurance given to Parliament that all stakeholders would be consulted before going ahead with the decision.
While indications are that fiery Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC) is unlikely to get many backers for the no-trust move, the Left and the Right are talking of a resolution on the FDI issue under a rule which entails voting. The NDA has decided to bring a motion that entails voting against the decision on FDI in retail but has kept open its options on a no-confidence motion.
TMC, which was part of the Congress-led UPA till two months back, has just 19 members while a no confidence motion requires support of at least 54 members, 10 per cent of the total strength of the Lower House. Government managers are confident of its numbers and feel that there was no threat to the stability of the coalition which still has 18 months left in office.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath has ridiculed TMC plans of a no-confidence motion, saying that he was seeing for the first time in his 32 years of Parliamentary career a 19-member party threatening the government with such a move. Facing the first session as Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Nath said, "A former ally with 19 members threatening us does not mean it is a threat. It does not mean we are counting our numbers."
Ahead of the winter session of Parliament, BSP supremo Mayawati was on Wednesday understood to have asked her party MPs not to join the opposition protests. "You remain neutral. I will tell you later what stand to be adopted on the FDI issue," Mayawati, a member of Rajya Sabha, is learnt to have told BSP MPs here.
In signals that she was not inclined to support the opposition in attacking UPA government on the issue, she is also believed to have asked the MPs not to rush to the well of the House. Her party has 21 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 15 in the upper house. Samajwadi Party is meeting on Thursday, following which its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is also the Parliamentary Party leader, is expected to announce its stand.
Yadav has often said his party does not want to pull down the government in order to keep communal forces at bay. At the same time, he has asked his partymen to prepare for the Lok Sabha polls as they could be held before 2014. SP has 22 MPs in the Lok Sabha and nine in Rajya Sabha. Both the Uttar Pradesh parties have remained supportive of UPA government in Parliament. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had recently hosted Yadav and Mayawati a dinner and lunch respectively to garner their support ahead of the session.
The month-long session, which will conclude on December 20, will have as many as 20 sittings and the government has lined up a heavy legislative agenda including 25 bills for consideration and passing, 10 bills for introduction and a voting on supplementary demands for grants for the current fiscal.
(With PTI inputs)