As Parliament on Tuesday began discussing Foreign Direct Investment in retail under a rule entailing voting, the Congress did not hide its displeasure over the "unhealthy precedent" that an executive decision has been put up for legislative vote.
"In principle, the issue has set an unhealthy precedent of putting an executive decision to vote by Parliament. There was nothing illegal or unconstitutional in the decision to bring FDI in multi-brand retail and the government agreed to discus the issue under Section 184 only to ensure smooth running of Parliament," party spokesperson P C Chacko told reporters.
The party spokesperson also expressed confidence that the motion to discuss the issue under a rule that entails voting will see the Opposition's contention being rejected in both Houses.
"UPA is confident the motion will be rejected in both Houses. We are confident that both Houses will reject the resolution on FDI. We are hopeful this will also eventually discourage the use of Parliament for political brinkmanship," Chacko said.
Slamming the Opposition for "not taking a principled stand on FDI" and being "hell bent to embarrass the government at any cost", Chacko rued that when the government agreed to a vote on FDI, the Opposition demanded the same for FEMA notification.
When the government agreed to put to vote both together, the same parties sought separate voting for each, he added.
Chacko also dismissed the charge that the assurance given by the then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee -- of taking all stakeholders on board on FDI in retail -- was not honoured by the government.
"The government did not make an announcement suddenly. Letters were written to 21 chief ministers. Eleven of them supported the move. An effort was indeed made to build a consensus. There is absolutely no violation of the assurance given by the then finance minister to the House. We implemented that in word and spirit. But then is voting in Parliament the way to forge a consensus? The government did consult the parties," he said.