Having failed to secure enough numbers to defeat the government on the opposition-sponsored motion against FDI in multi-brand retail in the Rajya Sabha, the BJP on Friday put up a brave front, saying the final numbers in the House vote exposed the government’s vulnerability. It expressed hope to reap the electoral dividends for its efforts in north India.
“The debate and the vote in the Rajya Sabha today exposed the government’s stand on FDI in retail trade. It also reflected that the government stands (numerically) vulnerable,” said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad after government mustered numbers to defeat the motion with help from Mayawati’s BSP and tacit support of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s SP.
The BJP remained hopeful of “consolidation” of its traditional trading community support base and expected that its point will “win us support base among the traditional most backward communities in northern India that remain self-employed” in professions like vegetable production and sales, and fisheries, among others.
In an apparent attempt to rally the trading community as well as most backward communities, the BJP mounted an attack on north Indian parties like SP, BSP, RJD and LJP for bailing out the government. “The phoney preachers of social justice have meekly submitted before the big global capitalism supported by India’s crony capitalism,” Prasad said, referring to Mayawati, Mulayam, Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan’s role in bailing out the government despite their reservations against the FDI move.
“They (SP and BSP) need to explain this to the people. We are not going to let them get away. We will take this issue to the people. We will go to Uttar Pradesh where the two major political parties had colluded and helped the government at the last moment,” senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said.
The Left parties cried foul against government’s victory with open support from BSP, alleging that it had manouevered support.
“It is a moral defeat. Had the BSP not voted in favour of the government, the picture would have been different.The Congress is a known master in managing numbers,” CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said.
In a statement, the CPM Politburo said, “The debate in both Houses of Parliament revealed that an overwhelming number of parties representing a clear majority of MPs are not in favour of allowing FDI in retail trade. This reflects the views of the majority of the people of the country. Despite the opposition, the government was able to maneouvre