On the action-packed first day of the winter session of Parliament on Thursday, the Trinamool Congress’s attempt to bring a no-confidence motion against the UPA government in the Lok Sabha failed. The Opposition, however, insisted that the government agree on a motion with voting on its decision to allow foreign investors in multi-brand retail. No business could be transacted as both Houses witnessed ruckus and were adjourned repeatedly.
A major consequence of the Trinamool’s failure to move the motion is that another one cannot be considered by the Lok Sabha for the next six months.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury charged Mamata Banerjee’s party with coming to the rescue of the ruling United Progressive Alliance and giving it a “reprieve” till at least May next year.
The former Lok Sabha Secretary-General and distinguished scholar on parliamentary procedures, Subhash Kashyap, told The Hindu: “Once a no-confidence motion moved by a member falls as a consequence of [his/her] not mustering the required 50 members…, another motion cannot be moved for at least six months.”
In the Rajya Sabha, vociferous members of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) drowned the voices of others raising the demand for a constitutional amendment to provide the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes with reservation in promotions.
Once the House disposed of the Trinamool’s no-trust motion, the focus was on the demand for a discussion on FDI in multi-brand retail under Rule 184, which entails voting. Amid din, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj managed to explain why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) were insisting on a motion with voting.
Speaker Meira Kumar repeatedly adjourned the House as the Opposition members did not relent. In the afternoon, it was adjourned for the day.
The BJP as well as its allies and the Left have served notice for a discussion on FDI under Rule 184. The Samajwadi Party has also given notice for an adjournment motion on the issue, which Ms. Kumar said was under her consideration.
Pressing for a discussion on FDI in retail under Rule 184, Ms. Swaraj charged the government with showing contempt for the assurances given by the then Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee. She pointed out that Mr. Mukherjee had assured the House that the government, which had put the decision on hold, would re-visit it only after consultations with the stakeholders, including the States and political parties. The government’s decision amounted to a “gross insult” of Parliament.
In the Rajya Sabha, Prasanta Chatterjee and K.N. Balagopal of the CPI(M) gave a privilege notice against Commerce Minister Anand Sharma for the alleged contravention of the assurance given in December 2011 on suspension of FDI in multi-brand retail until consensus was evolved among the stakeholders.
The day saw three adjournments of the Lok Sabha, while the Rajya Sabha called it a day after two adjournments. In the Rajya Sabha, there was uproar over FDI in retail and reservation for the SCs/STs in promotions.
Members of the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Trinamool Congress stormed the well in the Lok Sabha, and those of the BSP and the Trinamool Congress in the Rajya Sabha.
The BSP members demanded the dismissal of the Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh. The Speaker disallowed a notice by the BSP for an adjournment motion on the law and order situation in the State.