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UPA faces tough test in Rajya Sabha


New Delhi : The UPA government is likely to face a tough test in the Rajya Sabha in defeating an opposition-moved motion on foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail as its numbers do not even cross the half-way mark even with help of its outside supporters.

The motion would be debated under rules which entail voting after an “in principle” decision about this was taken at a meeting of Rajya Sabha chairman with leaders of political parties.

The government needs support of 123 members in the 244-member house to defeat a motion brought by the opposition.

Congress sources said that United Progressive Alliance (UPA) strength stands at 90 and it has outside support of 27 members from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Lok Janshakti Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal.

There are seven independent members and the strength of nominated members is 10.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders say 106 members from 13 parties are expected to vote against the government’s decision on FDI in retail. The opposition is also banking on the support of some independents also and smaller parties which have not spelt out their stance.

If the SP with its nine members decides to vote against the government, the government’s numbers will come down significantly.

Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav had Thursday said that if there is a vote on FDI in Rajya Sabha, the party will vote against it.

But party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav toned down his remarks hours later and said a decision will be taken at the right opportunity.

Abstention by SP and BSP will also not help the government get past the half-past mark.