New Delhi: Opposition BJP and Left parties on Tuesday demanded separate debates with voting on FDI in retail and related amendments in Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) rules in Lok Sabha, but it was vociferously opposed by the government and rejected by Speaker Meira Kumar.

The demand for separate discussion and voting was raised by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and supported by CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharia and Gurudas Dasgupta of CPI.

But, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who is Leader of the House, opposed the demand.

After considering the two views, the Speaker ruled that the debate on FDI and FEMA will be held together after which vote can take place separately on Wednesday.

Informing that she had consulted Nath and Shinde, she said the two issues are related and "therefore to avoid repetition it was decided to have combined discussion ..."

Citing a rule, Sinha said debate and voting on FDI in retail under Rule 184 should not be clubbed with the one regarding modifications to FEMA notifications issued by the RBI in October.

He said members have right to move amendments to FEMA modifications up to 30 working days from the day it was tabled in Parliament and that right should not be taken away.

"I request, doing so (clubbing the two) is not proper," he said, demanding separate debate and vote.

He noted that the notification was tabled on November 30 and the 30-day period will not end even on December 20, the last of the current Winter Session.

Sinha said the FEMA issue can be carried forward and discussed in the Budget Session or even the Monsoon Session. Two members - Saugata Roy (Trinamool) and Hasan Khan (Ind) - have moved amendments to FEMA notification.

Supporting Sinha, Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) said there is enough time to debate and vote amendments in FEMA and hence the two should be separated.

However, Nath opposed the demand saying the two issues were related and because of this they have been clubbed.

"One subject cannot be discussed in three-four forms ... Amendments can be moved even today if any member wants ... I don't know why there is confusion, I don't know why there is hesitation ... This (FEMA) also will be voted upon ... I don't know why they are running away from vote," he said.

He said opposition should "welcome" the vote as it was demanded by them. "Why are you hiding behind a rule to avoid a vote," he asked.

Murli Manohar Joshi (BJP) said clubbing the two issues was violation of the rights of a member to move amendments.

Dasgupta hit out Nath saying a minister should not shout. "Parliamentary (Affairs) Minister should have wisdom that nobody is running away (from vote)...We are firm...I am sure you have been able to manoeuvre majority with your technology ... If you have manoeuvred majority here, we will fight you elsewhere," Gupta said.

Sinha too said that no one is running away from vote. Referring to members' concerns about their right to move amendments to FEMA in 30 days, the Speaker said "the 30-day period is intact...it has not been taken away".

Noting that last one week of Parliament was lost in fight over Rule 184, Shinde said the House should go ahead with common debate and vote on the two related subjects.

Sinha sought separation of the two issues citing a precedence of 1957 when discussion and debate were clubbed on mines and mineral bill but the Speaker ruled that the two situations were different and that example was not applicable in the present case.

(Agencies)

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