Even as the much-awaited debate on the government’s decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail under Rule 184 that entails voting, began in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Speaker Meira Kumar rejected another demand of the Opposition.

The Opposition wanted the Speaker not to combine the discussion and voting (along with the FDI debate) on the two motions moved by them relating to modification of the notification (dated October 19, 2012) issued under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999. But Leader of the House and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath strongly opposed their demand. They said rules permitted such inclusion (of all three motions).

Ms. Kumar ruled that the debate on FDI and the FEMA would be held together but voting for each motion would be taken up separately on Wednesday. She had also consulted Mr. Shinde and Mr. Kamal Nath in this regard. “Therefore, in order to avoid repetition of debate on this subject, I decided to allow a combined debate on the three motions listed at serial numbers 28 to 30. After the combined discussion, the motions will be put to vote one by one.” Members’ right to move amendments to the FEMA notifications within the maximum of 30 days was still there and had not been taken away, she said.

While Yashwant Sinha (BJP), Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) and Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) sought separate discussions and voting, Mr. Nath said the Opposition should “welcome” the vote as it was demanded by it. “Why are you hiding behind a rule to avoid a vote,” he asked.

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

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