We can’t come to power. But we will give support to you or take support from you, says Mulayam
Despite Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s advice to the Congress to “take back” the policy on FDI in multi-brand retail on the first day of the debate in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, The Hindu has learnt that the socialist party will bail out the government by walking out in protest on Wednesday when the motion comes up for voting.
“We cannot come to power [on our own]. But we will give support to you or take support from you,” Mr. Yadav said in a lighter vein during the debate on the motion.
The Bahujan Samaj Party has indicated that it will back the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) by announcing that it will not support the motion moved by the BJP. Both the SP and the BSP extend outside support to the government and have 22 and 21 members in the Lok Sabha.
If a party abstains from voting or walks out at the time of voting, then the half-way mark for the government to win the vote will come down as the total strength of the House will be reduced. The vote is counted on the number of members present and voting.
Initiating the debate, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj charged the government with abandoning the interests of people for the benefit of multi-national companies.
In response, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said it was during the National Democratic Alliance regime that the proposal to open up the multi-brand retail sector came up, and asked what had made the Opposition party change its mind.
Outside Parliament, Rajya Sabha member and SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said there was “no way” his party would vote for FDI in multi-brand retail. The party was opposed to FDI in retail and decided not to implement the policy in Uttar Pradesh, where it is in power. The policy gave the States the option of not adopting it.
This leaves the party with the option of either voting against the motion or to abstain or walk out to register its protest, as well as reducing the numbers in the House to enable the UPA to increase its strength and sail through.
He sought to counter the “rumour” that the SP vote was linked to the alleged “CBI case against the party chief.” He asserted that there was no CBI case registered against Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav in the disproportionate assets case. “This is all propaganda.”