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All Party Meeting agrees to work for smooth functioning of parliament's winter session

New Delhi, Wed, 21 Nov 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Nov.21 (ANI): Cutting across party lines, the country's political fraternity on Wednesday said that they would like to see a smooth functioning of the parliament during the almost month-long winter session that commences from Thursday.

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi after an all party meeting here that was presided over by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, said the government had broken its promise, which it made last year that FDI would only be allowed after a consensus was developed among all political parties.

"This government went back on its promise of last year and that it was open violation when this government got approved FDI in retail from the cabinet. So that is why I feel that we should voice our opinion in the parliament. That can only happen through a vote. It is in our rules, the rule 184, which allows voting after a discussion. We all have given our notices and we have requested the speaker and the government that for the smooth functioning of the house our notices must be accepted," said Swaraj.

In recent years, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has frequently resorted to obstruction in parliament to denounce government policies and scandals.

Moving notices under Rule 184, entails voting in the parliament.

Speculations are rife that TMC, a former coalition partner in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), is planning to move a no-confidence motion against the government in the winter session of the parliament.

The BJP is yet to take final decision on whether to support the no confidence motion or not.

Samajwadi Party leader Revati Raman Singh said that all the parties had decided that the house must function without any disruption.

"The common consensus we reached in the party meet was that the parliament must run smoothly. The main discussion was on the issue of FDI. It is on this the smooth functioning of the house depends," said Singh.

Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta sounded sceptical of the government's view on voting and said that they would press for it.

"It appeared for sometime that the parliament would not run because it appears to me that the government does seem to accept 184. It was raised by Sushma ji and we supported her saying that we derive our strength from the basic fact that there was an undertaking in the parliament by Pranab Mukherjee that the issue be discussed with all stakeholders and then decision will be taken. Therefore it is not an issue of FDI in retail is a violation of the undertaking of the government in parliament. It adds a new dimension to it; therefore we are going to press for it. The government does not appear to be in the mood," said Dasgupta.

In September, the government allowed opening of retail sector for foreign investors, which allows global firms such as Wal-Mart Stores to set up shop with a local partner and sell directly to consumers for the first time, which supporters say could transform India's $450 billion retail market and tame inflation.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Kamal Nath appreciated the views expressed by the leaders of various parties with regards to the functioning of the parliament.

"I greatly appreciate the sentiment expressed by all parties that house must run. I have said that parliament doesn't belong to the government, does not belong to the Congress party, it belongs to every member of the parliament and to all political parties," said Nath.

The cabinet also approved bills to attract FDI into insurance and pensions in the latest move by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to restore confidence in the economy, but the reforms will face a tough fight in parliament.

Parliament passed just four bills in a month-long monsoon session and prompted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to question the state of democracy in the Asian power struggling with an economic crisis.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for more than three-quarters of the monsoon session that started on August 8. The upper house worked less than a third of the time alloted to it and the session was further tarnished by a shoving match between two lawmakers over an affirmative action bill favouring lower castes. (ANI)

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