The government on Sunday said it was confident of its “numbers” for the crucial vote on FDI in multi-brand retail in Parliament that will follow a debate on the contentious issue this week.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said he had got no assurance from the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the BSP that support the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) from outside, but expressed his confidence that they would extend support.
Mr. Nath claimed that the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) notification dealing with FDI in retail need to be passed by only one House, contesting the Opposition stand that the decision could not be implemented if it gets defeated in the Rajya Sabha, where the UPA lacks majority.
The debate in the Lok Sabha under a rule that entails voting is expected to take place on December 4-5 and later in the Rajya Sabha.
“We are in talks with them [political parties]... We are confident that we will be able to carry it through in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha... I am confident of my numbers,” he told Karan Thapar on “Devil’s Advocate.”
He denied that the government was trying to manipulate the members from abstaining or coming to vote.
“I have good reason to believe that they [the SP and the BSP] will vote with the government because they are responsible parties and that they will understand the politics of it... They are not going to vote for the politics of the BJP,” Mr. Nath said. “At this moment I have no assurance from any party. All I know is that I believe I will be able to prevail upon political parties to make them understand what is behind this vote.”
On FEMA notification, he said, “If one House has passed it, it passes. It does not need both Houses to pass it. That’s what is prescribed in the rules.”