The UPA 2 may agree to a vote in the Rajya Sabha over the amendments made to the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), for allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.

The Opposition, especially the BJP and Left parties have been demanding that the government should put the amendments made to FEMA to vote in the Rajya Sabha. Hitherto, the government has been denying the need for the same, claiming that the vote which took place in the Lok Sabha over FEMA amendments was sufficient for the purpose. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath was quoted in the media as having 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.” The executive decision for allowing FDI in multi-brand retail was voted upon in both Houses of Parliament and the government barely survived the day.

However, a top Congress source told The Sunday Guardian that the party is not closed to the idea of facing the vote in the Rajya Sabha. “It is our considered opinion that FDI (in multi-brand retail) is in the interest of the country. It has been approved by both Houses. As far as voting on the FEMA amendments in the Rajya Sabha is concerned, we are hopeful to get it passed. We expect all parties to understand the need to support it.”

The BJP and the Left parties are gearing up for a show-down in the Rajya Sabha. BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said, “We are determined to force a vote on the issue. We will ask for the annulment (of the FEMA amendments).”

Tapan Sen, senior CPM leader, reiterated the party’s resolve for another vote. Asked about the purpose behind the same, considering the UPA 2 won the last vote in Rajya Sabha, he said, “Some parties have been speaking on one line but voting on another line. We have to place on record our opposition to it.”

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