While launching an acerbic attack on the BJP, BSP chief Mayawati today bailed out the government once again, this time in unambiguous terms, as she decided to vote with the government in the Rajya Sabha on a motion opposing foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.
The support of 15 BSP MPs swung the numbers decisively in favour of the government on the motion moved by the AIADMK seeking withdrawal of the decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail.
A similar motion was defeated in the Lok Sabha yesterday, where the BSP, which supports the government from outside, walked out. But such a strategy could not have worked in the Rajya Sabha where the government does not enjoy a majority. Either the BSP, or SP, another party which bailed out the UPA in the Lok Sabha, needed to vote with the UPA to defeat the Opposition.
Till Wednesday, there was suspense about what the SP or BSP, both of which have opposed FDI in multi-brand retail, would do in the Rajya Sabha. But today, there was no ambiguity in the BSP’s stand, with Mayawati confidently announcing that her party would vote with the government.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Mayawati today directed her anger at the BJP, especially at Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. Swaraj, while exhorting SP and BSP to vote against the government yesterday, had remarked that it was a case of choosing between “FDI vs CBI” for these parties, implying that they may be influenced by pending CBI cases against their leaders.
Hitting out at “communal forces”, Mayawati said the language used by Swaraj was “undignified” and “petty” and the allegations were “without any basis”.
“The allegations of CBI pressure on us has become fashionable...But I want to make it clear that we are not afraid of CBI...have never been afraid of CBI or the central government even in the worst of times,” she said. Mayawati said it was a case of “sour grapes” for the BJP as its motion was getting defeated.
Some of her references to Swaraj were deemed unparliamentary and expunged from the records following objections by the BJP. Amidst heated exchanges between BJP and BSP members, the House had to be adjourned for 10 minutes.
While reiterating her party’s objections to FDI, Mayawati asked the government to ensure that it does not hurt the domestic industry and farmers. “Many people fear that this decision