New Delhi: The Winter Session of Parliament beginning on Thursday is expected to generate a lot of heat over the issue of FDI in retail with friend-turned-foe Trinamool Congress even threatening to move a no-confidence motion against the government.
While indications are that fiery Mamata Banerjee‘s Trinamool Congress (TMC) is unlikely to get many backers for the no-trust move, the Left and the Right are talking of a resolution on the FDI issue under a rule which entails voting.
The NDA has decided to bring a motion that entails voting against the decision on FDI in retail but has kept open its options on a no-confidence motion.
TMC, which was part of the Congress-led UPA till two months back, has just 19 members while a no confidence motion requires support of at least 54 members, 10 percent of the total strength of the Lower House.
Government managers are confident of its numbers and feel that there was no threat to the stability of the coalition which still has 18 months left in office.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath has ridiculed TMC plans of a no-confidence motion, saying that he was seeing for the first time in his 32 years of Parliamentary career a 19-member party threatening the government with such a move.
Facing the first session as Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Nath said, “A former ally with 19 members threatening us does not mean it is a threat. It does not mean we are counting our numbers.”
The month-long session, which will conclude on December 20, will have as many as 20 sittings and the government has lined up a heavy legislative agenda including 25 bills for consideration and passing, 10 bills for introduction and a voting on supplementary demands for grants for the current fiscal.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill as also the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill for reservation to SC/ST in government jobs, and Whistleblowers Protection Bills are among the prominent Bills being brought in this session.
The Monsoon Session of Parliament was as washout with most of the sittings being disrupted over the controversial coal block allocation issue, a matter on which BJP insisted on its demand for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
It was the second-worst session since the 2009 Lok Sabha elections as Parliament functioned for only six out of 19 days and was paralysed for remaining period due to the stand-off between government and BJP.
The session would also see government trying to push through key economic reforms bills in sectors like insurance, pension and banking.
Insurance Bill that seeks to raise foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in the sector from 26 per cent to 49 percent, Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, Companies Bill and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, figure in the list of official business for the session.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram had expressed the hope that Parliament will be allowed to function smoothly and appealed to all parties to understand the “difficult times” faced by the economy and work with the government.