New Delhi: Almost half of the Winter Session was washed out with the ninth consecutive day on Friday being lost to the din caused by the Opposition and two UPA constituents over their demand for a rollback of the decision to allow FDI in retail. The Congress, however, sought the cooperation of the Opposition to run the house smoothly. FDI protest politically motivated: Montek (JPN/Agencies)
Logjam prevailed in Parliament despite the government's efforts to placate its allies - DMK and Trinamool Congress - whose members continued to join the Opposition in vociferously protesting the FDI decision.
'Down, Down, FDI', 'FDI Wapas Lo' rent the air in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha with Trinamool Congress and DMK members joining the Opposition BJP, Left, JD-U and Samajwadi Party in the protests against the move.
Some slogan-shouting Trinamool members, along with those from the Left, JD(U) and SP, even stormed the Well in the Lok Sabha.
With Parliament going into a four-day recess, the two Houses will now meet on December 7. The current session is slated to conclude on December 22.
It was the repeat of the previous days in both Houses as uproar started soon after they met for the day. Both Houses were first adjourned till noon and then for the day.
In Lok Sabha, as soon as Speaker Meira Kumar took up the Question Hour, Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) was on his feet and tried to draw her attention to the FDI issue. He was joined by BJP member Murli Manohar Joshi.
Both Acharia and Joshi had given separate notices for adjournment motion to discuss the government decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent in
single-brand retail. BJP and Left members were on their feet and raised slogans.
MPs from Kerala held placards demanding appropriate steps to deal with the Mullaperiyar dam issue. "Safety of Kerala, Water for Tamil Nadu" read the placards.
In the Rajya Sabha, unruly scenes were witnessed just as the House met for the day with Opposition demanding rollback of the FDI decision.
UPA ally DMK joined the protest along with members from BJP, SP, BSP and others.
'FDI wapas lo' and 'East India Company wapas jao' (East India Co. Go Back) chanted members belonging to BJP, BSP, AIADMK and SP.
Opposition members sprang on their feet the moment Chairman Hamid Ansari took his seat. As the slogan shouting Opposition members were about to enter the Well, Ansari adjourned the House till noon.
When the House re-assembled, similar scenes were witnessed with the entire Opposition raising slogans.
In the din, Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan directed laying of papers. As the din continued, he adjourned the House for the day.
Congress seeks Opposition cooperation
With Parliament adjourned for the ninth consecutive day after uproar over FDI and other issues, Congress on Friday sought the cooperation of the Opposition to run it smoothly.
"When both the ruling party and Opposition decide to run the House, it would continue to run," Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters outside Parliament House.
Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned on Thursday for the ninth consecutive day amid noisy scenes over FDI and other issues.
"The government is ready with business agenda, there are 31 Bills pending on which discussion should take place and 24 more Bills to be introduced. We are ready to conduct legislative business in the House but we need the cooperation of Opposition to run the House," Alvi said.
He said the Opposition had earlier agreed to pass two Bills in a day but in a sudden change of stand they are not ready for discussion now.
"We are always ready for discussion. But opposition is not ready for it," he said.
On the BJP's stand over FDI issue, Union Minister Harish Rawat said, "We can understand opposition by the Left. They are against reforms. But why BJP, which always talks of second
generation reforms, is opposing it. They always say they are in favour of reforms but when we bring reforms, they oppose it."
Dubbing the opposition to opening up retail sector to foreign investment as "bogus and politically motivated", Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Friday appeared to attack BJP contending it had changed its stance after such proposal in 2002.
"This (opposition) is bogus. I think this opposition (of FDI in Retail) is politically motivated," Ahluwalia told reporters here on the on the sidelines of the summit organized by a media house here.
Taking a dig at the Opposition, he said, "Some members of the Opposition in the public have said that it was right for them to propose it in 2002, But (now) the situation has changed."
"Now they are opposing it in 2011 when India is a much bigger...much stronger position... when the Indian enterprises demonstrated that they can operate abroad," he quipped.
Ahluwalia suggested that opening up of the retail sector for foreign investment will ultimately improve the competitiveness of domestic players.
"I do not see any reason, why Reliance Fresh or Bharti should not be opening stores in Thailand. But actually for them to do that, first they have to show that they are pretty good compared to the international competition," he said.
According to Ahluwalia, the move will not only help farmers but consumers as well. The argument by the Opposition that the farmers will be cheated by big foreign players, is baseless.
"In my view, it is absolutely the right thing to do if you care about farmers and consumers. The view that farmers will be cheated (by foreign players) has no basis," the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman told reporters. He discounted apprehensions regarding the possibility of predatory pricing by foreign retail players and a loss of jobs.
"In 20 years in China, have there been predatory prices? This is uninformed rubbish. You can quote me. This is complete uninformed rubbish," Ahluwalia said.
The Plan panel deputy chief said states are free to allow or bar foreign investment by retail players in the multi-brand category.
"The FDI policy brought out by the government gives complete freedom to the states. Those states who wants to allow it can do it. Others who don't want it, let them not allow FDI in retail. We are not forcing them (states)," he said.
"For doing retail business, local licences are required. We are not making it mandatory (under the FDI policy) that if one state has implemented it, others should do it. If states
don't want, it would not be done," he added.
About fears that FDI in multi-brand will lead to flooding of cheap Chinese imports, he said: "We are not creating a special import policy for them."
Regarding the suggestion that manufacturing reforms should have come before the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, Ahluwalia termed this a "bogus argument".
New Delhi: Almost half of the Winter Session was washed out with the ninth consecutive day on Friday being lost to the din caused by the Opposition and two UPA constituents over their demand for a rollback of the decision to allow FDI in retail. The Congress, however, sought the cooperation of the Opposition to run the house smoothly.
FDI protest politically motivated: Montek