Political management helped win FDI vote: Congress


New Delhi : Fear of early polls and deft negotiations enabled the government to win the vote on FDI in retail in parliament, Congress sources said Friday.

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They said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath’s vast experience came in handy while talking to leaders of various parties since he shared a warm equation with many of them.

Kamal Nath is into his eighth term as a Lok Sabha member.

“The basic point was about early elections, and many parties did not want that. The government would not have liked to continue if it lost the vote in the Lok Sabha,” a senior party leader told IANS.

“Such a government would have been a lame duck one. It was also important to score a moral victory in the Rajya Sabha,” added the leader who did not wish to be named.

The government Friday defeated an opposition-sponsored motion against FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha. A similar victory was scored in the Lok Sabha Wednesday.

Congress sources said apart from Kamal Nath, Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, talked to various parties.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was ostensibly not keen on early elections. BSP chief Mayawati was promised that parliamentary bills she was keen on would be given priority.

“The SP will not mind early polls but it feels the central government will not fall without the BSP ending its support. It also wants to deliver on its election promises in Uttar Pradesh,” a Congress leader said.

While the BSP and SP walked out before the vote in the Lok Sabha, the BSP voted with the government in the Rajya Sabha.

Congress sources said some parties were apprehensive that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would make gains if there were early elections.

Kamal Nath indicated as much after the opposition motion was shot down in the Rajya Sabha.

“I appealed to the parties to recognise the BJP’s agenda and vote accordingly, and they did that,” he said.

Congress leaders said there was little possibility of the BSP and SP siding with the BJP after it alleged that they bailed out the government in the Lok Sabha because of CBI cases against their leaders.

The sources said Congress president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Rahul Gandhi were kept in the picture about the talks with other parties.