BSP today indicated that it will support the government in Parliament on the issue of FDI, saying the fact that the Centre has not thrust the policy on states and the aim of keeping communal forces at bay will determine its stand.
BSP chief Mayawati said her party feels the FDI in multi-brand is needed for the country's economic growth but the policy should be implemented with certain conditions to prevent the harmful impact of some of its provisions on the poor and the middle class.
"The only plus point of this policy of the Centre is that if a state does not want to implement the FDI policy then it will not be forcefully imposed on that state. Our party has taken serious note of this. Our party is also seriously thinking whether it should be standing with those parties that encourage communal forces," Mayawati said.
She pointed out that though BSP has not yet taken a decision on the issue, when the matter comes up in Parliament these two issues will determine its stand.
"In case of voting on the FDI in retail issue our party will keep these two factors in mind while taking the right and proper decision in the interest of the country," she said.
Asked if BSP is putting the passage of the Reservation in promotion for SC/ST as a pre-condition to pledge support to the UPA government, Mayawati replied in the negative.
The BSP chief, however, maintained that her party still has certain reservations about the FDI policy in its present form and suggested that the government do a "serious analysis" of its impact on the poor and the middle classe before implementing it.
Mayawati said her party is not against the idea of FDI as foreign loans and FDI were the two options through which a developing country can improve its economy.
"Due to lack of resources, development cannot take place. So, developing nations have to take loans or depend on FDI. But there is a limit to the amount of loan a country can take. FDI then is the only other option. Many countries have taken the help of FDI to improve their economy," she noted.
However, she cautioned that FDI should be allowed with certain caveats.
"While one section and the government believe FDI will bring big benefits, those opposed say there will be big losses due to it. No decision should be taken in a hurry and without checking all aspects. Our suggestion to the government is to study its impact on Congress-ruled states, do a deep analysis and then proceed further," Mayawati said.
She pointed out that countries like Thailand and Malaysia invited FDI but the results were not very good and their economies suffered.
Mayawati said India needs to look into which sectors FDI should be allowed as it may have an adverse impact in some areas.
"Allowing FDI into India without any conditions will not be good for the domestic economy," she said, adding that her party is concerned about its impact on farmers, small businesses, labourers, factories, small traders and the like.
"There is an apprehension that due to FDI in multi-brand retail the small traders will suffer big loses and will lose their significance," Mayawati said.
The BSP supremo hit out at the government for claiming that FDI in retail will bring down prices of commodities.
"The wrong economic policies of the government have led to price rise and growing unemployment," she said.
She maintained that foreign multinational companies want to tap those markets which have maximum consumers.
Govt seeks to keep Mayawati in good humour ahead of FDI vote
With Mayawati voicing certain reservations over FDI policy in its present form, Government today sought to keep BSP in good humour by declaring its commitment to a Constitution Amendment Bill providing for promotions for SC/STs in government jobs.
"Government is committed to the Constitution Amendment Bill," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told reporters 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 Uttar Pradesh politics, on the issue. The SP, 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 BJP 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 discussion tomorrow 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 MPs, including 18 of DMK, 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.
UPA does not have the numbers on its own in the Upper House, which has an effective strength of 244. UPA and its allies have a strength of 94 members. The ten nominated 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.