Even as it voted in favour of FDI in retail, the UPA’s key constituent, the Nationalist Congress Party, on Wednesday struck a discordant note saying it did not support implementation of the decision in Maharashtra.

“The NCP does not support FDI in multi-brand retail,” Praful Patel, who is also the Union Minister for Heavy Industry, told reporters outside Parliament soon after its members voted in favour of the move in the Lok Sabha.

He said the decision to implement FDI in retail in Maharashtra would be taken after consultations with its coalition partner Congress.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad alleged that the Opposition had misled the Lok Sabha and the people on the FDI in retail issue and tried to create a big but unfounded fear about multinational companies.

“There is nothing mandatory in the FDI policy and States have the freedom to implement it if they want,” he told reporters.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed confidence the government would muster the numbers in the Rajya Sabha also to defeat the Opposition motion against the contentious measure.

Rejecting the allegations of Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj that the CBI was used to ensure that the SP and that BSP did not vote against the government, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said: “This is a rejection of the politics of the BJP. They had FDI in their manifesto. Swaraj has lost her cool because the motion moved by her has got defeated. She is frustrated.”

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid also rejected the allegations of the use of the CBI: “It is not proper for anybody to raise questions on the entire system only because of the failure of any step by anybody.”

“Victory of democracy”

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, who was the first speaker from the government side in the Lok Sabha, told reporters that the result was a “victory of democracy.”

He ridiculed Ms. Swaraj’s contention that parties having a total of 282 members opposed FDI. “We do not believe in Sushma’s arithmetic. We believe in the arithmetic of democracy.”

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