Overwhelming opinion against FDI decision, say BJP and CPI

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS) The government may have won the vote on foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail but the overwhelming opinion in the two houses of parliament was against the decision, opposition parties said Friday.

Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) M. Venkaiah Naidu and Communist Party of India's (CPI) D. Raja said majority of members in the Rajya Sabha had spoken against the decision. Addressing reporters after the opposition motion against FDI was defeated in the upper house, Trinamool Congress member Derek O'Brien added that the vote was the beginning of the end of "minority government".

Raja said in terms of content as well as in the tone and tenor of the debate, most members had spoken against the government decision.

"Overwhelming sense of the house was against FDI in multi-brand retail," Raja said.

Echoing him, BJP's Naidu said: "Overwhelming number of speakers in the Rajya Sabha opposed FDI in retail."

He added that the government had given no convincing answer to the points raised by the opposition.

"The entire country has watched... I am confident they will be a taught fitting lesson when they go to the people," Naidu said.

Referring to the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party - while the SP walked out of parliament before the vote, the BSP supported the government - he said parties that had made a "U-turn" on their stand in FDI needed to explain their actions to the people.

The SP and the BSP, which support the government from outside, have earlier found fault with the FDI decision.

Naidu said BJP leaders would go the people, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, to expose the two parties.

"(This is) wrestling in daytime and friendship at night... Whenever people get a chance, they will teach a lesson," Naidu said.

Derek O'Brien of the Trinamool said his party had been consistent in opposing FDI.

"Our stand is clear, we have been constant on it since beginning. This is the beginning of end for this minority government," he said.

"We will now take this to the streets," he added.

Trinamool Congress had pulled out of the government on the issue of FDI, among other issues.