As SP, BSP walk out, govt wins FDI vote
Second, Commerce minister Anand Sharma revealed during his reply that he had made fresh changes in the policy — instead of retail chains eligible to set up shop only in cities with a population of 10 lakh and above, they can open in smaller cities too. This was done after protests from states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Assam that have cities with smaller populations.
Third, the vote reaffirmed the government’s total dependence on the SP and BSP in Parliament to get critical legislations passed, beginning with the bill allowing for quotas in promotions for SCs and STs the BSP is keen on. The walkouts by the SP and BSP, however, did not come as a surprise as government managers had aggressively wooed them.
SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP leader Dara Singh strongly attacked the FDI decision during the debate but when it came to voting, the two parties walked out of the house. UPA partners DMK and NCP said they did not support the controversial FDI decision but voted with the government in the House.
The mainstay of Commerce minister Anand Sharma’s response was to rebut the opposition contention that the government had failed to build a consensus among all stakeholders, including political parties and state governments.
Making a point by point rebuttal, Sharma listed out letters that were written to political parties as well