The UPA is not averse to a vote on its decision to allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told NDTV after an all-party meeting failed in its purpose to break the political deadlock holding up Parliament. But he also said a vote on FDI will set a bad precedent.
Here are the highlights of what he said:
- Never before has an executive decision been subject to voting, it would set a very unhealthy precedence.
- Balco was a totally different case - it was a public sector, the capital of which was appropriated from the consolidated fund of India.
- In FDI, the govt has enabled the states; the states should discuss in their assemblies whether they want it or don't want it.
- The majority of numbers said the Parliament must run.
- While it can be discussed under 184, the question is should we vote on an executive decision, when it just enables the states.
- I am not categorically ruling out vote on FDI, if that is the only way to run Parliament.
- I am not averse to a vote, in the all-party meet I wanted an opportunity to explain our stand.
- The BJP says this is a breach of assurance, we say it isn't. The Commerce Minister discussed it will all the parties concerned.
- This is not the right message to the investing community; will every decision be taken to Parliament.
- The BSP has their issues. The bill on quota in promotions has been introduced in Rajya Sabha. It isn't us that will pass the bill, it is the House that will pass the bill.
- I am going by what they said at the all-party meeting: they don't care under what rule FDI is discussed and they want the house to function.
- Numbers are not worrying me.
- If the UPA believes, our allies believe we should have a vote - that's fine. If they believe there should not be a vote, that's fine too.
- Parliament doesn't belong to the government. It belongs to all MPs. It is everybody's responsibility to make Parliament run.
- We are the ones who brought it up in the Rajya Sabha. We are the ones who put it the list of business. It is a bill that has been introduced in the Rajya Sabha. Mulayam-ji can oppose it on the floor of the house.
- I don't know what will happen to the Lokpal bill this session. We got a session in Parliament which has 20 working days. There is a whole process, we have only 12 working days left. It goes to cabinet, cabinet clears it, comes back to Rajya Sabha. I think we should aim for the budget session.
- Government is not pillorying the CAG. The issues are within the CAG. Someone who was a part of the CAG is making public statements. Someone who was a part of the CAG is saying he was forced to sign a report. It is upto CAG to refute the allegations.
- Presumptive loss is very dangerous. You can have a presumptive loss in anything and everything.
- I will continue with my efforts with all political parties. If I cannot convince them, I am not averse to a vote.