Ansari meets top leaders to end RS logjam

Even as the govt has called an all-party meeting on Wednesday to end the deadlock in the Rajya Sabha over FDI in multi-brand retail, the opposition parties will hold an agitation at Delhi`s Jantar Mantar on the same.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari on Wednesday met leaders of all political parties in the Upper House to resolve the stalemate over the bill for reservations in promotions.

As per sources, the meeting was held before the house met for the day at 11 am.

Coinciding with the all-party meeting, the opposition parties will today hold an agitation at Delhi`s Jantar Mantar on the FDI issue.

On Tuesday, Rajya Sabha witnessed intense protests by the Opposition members that prompted the House chairman Hamid Ansari to admonish members.

The disruptions were caused by Opposition members on two issues - some wanted a discussion on whether WalMart lobbied in India to push the FDI policy and others - mainly the Samajwadi Party - protested against a possible discussion on a proposal that reserves promotions in government jobs for tribals and Dalits.

Visibly agitated by the chaos, Ansari even suggested that Question Hour could be dispensed with.

On the other hand, the opposition has decided to take the FDI battle to the streets outside Parliament. The BJP, its allies and the Left parties will be holding an agitation at Delhi`s Jantar Mantar.
After losing the vote last week on whether FDI should be allowed in India, the opposition has demanded that a parliamentary committee must probe allegations that WalMart lobbied to get access to the country`s vast retail sector.

The government said yesterday it was willing to commission such an investigation. "The issue of WalMart lobbying is not a concern only for the opposition but the government as well," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said in Parliament yesterday.

Opposition parties say any inquiry on the issue must have a hard deadline.

The controversy is fomented by a disclosure in the US that WalMart spent Rs. 125 crore in the last four years on lobbying for access to different markets, including India.

Last week, the government - with the support of the Samajwadi Party and BSP- won a vote in Parliament on its decision to allow FDI in retail.

The vote was non-binding but tested the ability of the government to help push important legislation and reforms.

With Agency Inputs