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Consensus Eludes All -party Meet On FDI

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Consensus eluded an all-party meeting called on FDI issue on 26 November even as Samajwadi Party and BSP provided comfort to the government by not insisting on voting and Trinamool Congress sprang a surprise by speaking in a similar tone.

However, UPA ally DMK kept the suspense over its position on voting while conveying its concerns over allowing 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail.

Opposition parties, including NDA, AIADMK, BJD, Left parties, TDP and JD(S) insisted on a discussion under rules entailing voting, making it clear that trouble will continue in Parliament which failed to transact any business for the third straight day today over the issue.

"There will be no compromise on (discussion under Rule) 184 (which entails voting)," said Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj after the two-and-a-half hour-long meeting.

Asked if the BJP would not allow Parliament to function, she replied, "no compromise at all... When I said no compromise, it means something."

Highlighting the fact that there was no meeting ground between the government and opposition over voting issue, Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete said, "There was a discussion but no decision."

The government got comfort as its outside supporters SP and BSP made it clear that they would be willing for discussion under any rule. They did not press for voting and left the decision to the Presiding Officers of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

Trinamool Congress, which only last week moved a No-Confidence Motion over the FDI issue, sprang a surprise as it also did not insist on voting and said the Chair should decide the rule under which discussion could take place.
 
With the Opposition disrupting Parliament for the third consecutive day and earlier efforts by the government not succeeding, the all-party meeting was held to end the impasse. The government has maintained that it is ready to discuss the FDI in retail issue but does not want it to be put to vote.
 
The meeting, held in Parliament House, was chaired by Leader of the Lok Sabha Sushilkumar Shinde and attended by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Agriculture Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
 
Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had met UPA ally DMK's Chief M Karunanidhi yesterday in Chennai to discuss the FDI issue. DMK has opposed the decision.
 
Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley, NDA Working Chairperson L K Advani, JD(U) Chief Sharad Yadav, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, Reoti Raman Singh and Naresh Agrawal (both SP), T R Baalu (DMK), BSP leader Mayawati, her party colleague Satish Chandra Mishra, Sudip Bandyopadhyay (TMC) and Arjun Charan Sethi (BJD) were among those present.
 
Leaders of other parties, including from TDP, RJD, NC, RLD, SAD were also present.

(PTI)