New Delhi: Opposition parties today cried foul after their motion against FDI in multi-brand retail was defeated in Rajya Sabha, accusing government of "manoeuvring" votes by "colluding" with BSP and SP.
Parties like BJP, CPI-M, CPI and Trinamool Congress insisted that the victory for the government came even as a majority of the parties in the House did not favour the measure.
V Maitreyan (AIADMK), who had moved the motion, said voting did not take place on "merits of the issue, but other considerations...It is a victory of the minority." He said government won through "management" of numbers and not the policy.
BJP also lashed out at BSP and SP for making a "U-turn" on their stand on FDI in multi-brand retail and alleged that they had "colluded" with the government to ensure its victory.
"They (SP and BSP) need to explain this to the people. We are not going to let them get away. We will take this issue to the people. We will go to Uttar Pradesh where the two major political parties had colluded and helped the government at the last moment and by making lame excuses," BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said.
Alleging that the government's win is a result of manipulation, he said, "If you go by the speeches made in the House by different parties, an overwhelming majority of the members of Rajya Sabha have voted against FDI in retail.
BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said, "On the streets and in Parliament, there is opposition to FDI in retail. But when it comes to voting in the House, the instruments of the government and its habit of having its way by hook or by crook are at work. It wants to stay in power through any means." Accusing the government of manoeuvring in Parliament to defeat the motion against FDI in multi-brand retail trade, Left parties said a "clear majority" of MPs in both Houses had opposed the move as was reflected in the debate.
The Left also attacked SP and accused it of opportunism while questioning BSP's "dubious" position on the issue.
"The debate in both Houses of Parliament revealed that an overwhelming number of political parties representing a clear majority of MPs are not in favour of allowing FDI in retail trade. This reflects the views of the majority of the people of the country," CPI(M) Politburo said in a statement.
It also blamed Samajwadi Party and BSP for helping the government in getting the motion defeated, despite their opposition to the FDI move.
"Despite the opposition, the government was able to maneouvre to get the motion against FDI in retail trade defeated. This was possible due to the opportunism of SP and dubious position adopted by BSP. Both these parties spoke out against FDI in retail trade but acted in a manner to help the government succeed," the Politburo said after a two-day meeting here.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury also smelt a scam in today's voting and said "something will come out later". He cited the JMM bribery case which came out after the then Narasimha Rao government won a Trust vote in the 1990s and the cash-for-vote scam after the Manmohan Singh-led UPA-I won the Trust vote following the Nuclear deal.
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien maintained that his party has stood by its principles and ideology and has opposed the FDI decision.
"Since its inception, TMC has always been firm on its principles. We decided to oppose the FDI policy as it is against the people," O'Brien said.
Yechury said his party would now bring amendments in the FEMA notification in Parliament soon.
According to Naidu, the motion was defeated as BSP voted in favour and SP walked out ahead of the crucial voting and said, "(These) parties had taken a stand, supported a Bharat bandh, (their members) give speeches in Parliament against FDI and suddenly they made a U-turn. They need to explain to the people and we are not going to let them get away."
He said the government may have got the numbers today, but expressed confidence that the public will teach them a fitting lesson in elections.
The win, he said, was not going to cut any ice among the people as they are watching the proceedings and are wise enough to "understand their game plan".
Naidu said BJP wanted to expose the parties and show where they stood in the debate and how they changed their stance during voting.
Javadekar noted that whenever voting has taken place on any issue in the Lok Sabha the government has never crossed the half-way mark of 272.
"People will come to know how the numbers were managed, what all was offered to whom and how the Prime Minister called up some leaders to solicit support," he said.
"From our proposal what a party says and how it votes has been exposed," Javadekar said, referring to SP and BSP's stand during the debate and their volte-face during voting.
The BJP leader also claimed the debate has also made it clear that this policy is anti-people and cannot be called a reform.
"Our campaign against FDI in retail will continue," he said.