New Delhi: 5:52 pm: JD(U) president Sharad Yadav said that the party would take action against MP Upendra Kushwaha for voting in favour of the UPA government on the issue of FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.
4:45 pm: Recounting of votes on FDI is underway in Rajya Sabha after the government demanded it as the number of votes appeared more than the actual strength of the House.
4:41 pm: Congress leader Rajiv Shukla on Friday said that it was a myth that the UPA government was in a minority in the Rajya Sabha. He said, "Myth that we are a minority in Rajya Sabha, we will try to push other bills. We will talk to opposition leaders."
3:42 pm: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said reforms were on track after the UPA won the voting on FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha, getting the support of 123 MPs. Refuting BJP's charge that UPA used the CBI to get Mayawati's support, Kamal Nath said, "Mayawati voted with BJP on nuclear deal earlier, then BJP did not raise the CBI issue. Now when they vote against BJP, BJP accuses of misuse of CBI. This shows the mindset of BJP, it is about the politics of BJP."
3:08 pm: The UPA government won the vote on FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha as well getting 123 votes in its favour. While the UPA got the support of 123 MPs, 109 MPs voted against it and one MP abstained.
2:47 pm: The Samajwadi Party walked out of the Rajya Sabha ahead of voting on FDI in retail.
1:10 pm: Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said that the BJP was disrespecting people by saying FDI will create salesboys and salesgirls. "By saying that FDI in retail will create salesgirls and salesboys, BJP is disrespecting those who earn their living by selling products in shops not owned by them," Anand Sharma said. The Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2:30 pm after an uproar on Anand Sharma's comment on JD(U) leader NK Singh. Sharma claimed that NK Singh had supported FDI in retail.
12:20 pm: Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said that he wrote to all concerned leaders on FDI in retail and got replies from 19 chief ministers. Speaking during the FDI debate in the Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma said, "I met 14 Chief Ministers in different states on FDI in retail. I wrote to the Leader of the Opposition. I request the Opposition not to charge me of not reaching out to concerned parties. I wrote letters to all concerned."
11:00 am: CPI leader D Raja claimed that there was no consensus within the UPA on FDI in retail. Ahead of the Rajya Sabha voting on FDI, Raja questioned the stands of SP, BSP and DMK on FDI. "SP and DMK have expressed strong reservations against FDI. There is no consensus. SP, BSP and DMK will have to justify their stands and explain to the people. The point is that the BSP expressed a number of reservations on FDI, so also the SP," D Raja said.
10:00 am: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called up all the nominated members ahead of the vote on FDI in multi-brand retail in the Rajya Sabha on Friday. This even as the UPA is all set to win the winter test in both Houses of Parliament. The voting will take place after 2 pm in the Rajya Sabha after the final debate on FDI.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati declared that she will vote for the government on FDI in retail in the Rajya Sabha. This has assured the UPA of the much-needed numbers ahead of the vote. The other fence-sitter from Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party, has announced it will stage a walkout.
Mayawati on Thursday turned the debate on FDI in the Rajya Sabha into an attack on the BJP. Maya attacked BJP leader Sushma Swaraj saying she had a 'sour grapes' syndrome. Sour grapes indeed it was for the BJP berating the BSP for its turn. "Yesterday they voted against FDI, today they are with FDI. They need to explain what happened overnight," BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad hit back.
The BJP now seems to be realising that in politics there are no permanent enemies or friends. If Mayawati led the charge against the UPA in the nuclear deal, she's been seen to be bailing out the UPA not just with outside support but recently in the Presidential election too. Her reward could be the passage of the SC/ST quota bill.
The government was certainly speaking the language of Mayawati. "Mayawati has voted against the politics of the BJP," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said.
How the numbers played out in the Rajya Sabha:
HALF WAY MARK: 117
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