With former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati voicing certain reservations over FDI policy in its present form, the government on Monday sought to keep the Bahujan Samaj Party in good humour by declaring its commitment to a Constitution Amendment Bill providing for promotions for SC/STs in government jobs.
"The government is committed to the Constitution Amendment Bill," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told mediapersons when asked about Mayawati's ambivalent stand on support to the Government on the FDI issue which is being taken up in the Lok Sabha tomorrow under a rule that entails voting.
Recalling that the government had itself brought the Bill in Parliament, he said, "It is introduced in the Rajya Sabha by us. It is listed by us as 'number 1' in the list of business today."
The BSP, which has 21 members in the Lok Sabha, has been aggressive in Parliament for passage of the Bill and has been at loggerheads with Samajwadi Party, its rival in UP politics, on the issue. The Samajwadi Party, which is also a key outside supporter of the Government, is opposed to the measure.
With the Left and the Right making a common cause on opposition to the FDI issue, Kamal Nath sought to drive a wedge in the opposition asking all political parties to reject the 'politics of BJP'.
"What are we going to discuss -- this is purely politics. I am urging all political parties to recognise the politics behind this debate and vote against the politics...And the house must reject the politics of the Bharatiya Janata Party in this," he said.
Elaborating his point, he said the vote in Parliament would not determine whether the FDI will be implemented in the states or not. "That is for the states to determine," he said.
Nath expressed confidence that the government will win the floor test in Parliament on the FDI issue.
Lok Sabha will have a discussion on Tuesday and the day after while the Rajya Sabha will debate it on December 6 and 7. At present, the government enjoys the support of around 265 members of Parliament, including 18 of Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam, in the 545-member Lok Sabha. With the support of Samajwadi Party (22) and BSP (21), the backing for the ruling coalition goes a little over 300, against the half-way mark of 273.
The United Progressive Alliance does not have the numbers on its own in the upper house, which has an effective strength of 244. The UPA and its allies have a strength of 94 members. The 10 ominated members may go ahead to vote with the government. Among the seven independents, three or four may support the government.
Still, the ruling coalition may have to persuade outside supporters BSP (15) and SP (9) to vote with the government.