FDI logjam: Was it a Congress ploy to stall Parliament?

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by anoop_mig25, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    FDI logjam: Was it a Congress ploy to stall Parliament? November 30, 2011 REDIFF NEWS by Neerja Chowdhury.

    mods please move it to an appropriate thread . i am confused in which thread should be posted "Close down Parliament." or
    "Cabinet approves 51% FDI in Multi Brand Retail Sector" . may be "Close down Parliament." appropriate


    A question which is the subject of animated discussion in the Central Hall of Parliament these days is why the government chose to approve the decision to bring 51% FDI in the multi-brand retail sector at this juncture.

    The decision, which was considered during UPA I but shot down by the Left parties, had been pending for years. Even Parliament's Standing Committee on Commerce, under the stewardship of Dr Murli Manohar Joshi [ Images ], had rejected the idea in 2009, without any note of dissent by the UPA members, who were in a majority.

    The retail sector in India [ Images ], the second largest after agriculture, has been growing on its own and did not need push from outside agencies. Nor are Walmart, Tesco and other international companies going to bring in technology that the country is crying for, so as to create warehouses and cold storage!

    There can be differences about the pros and cons of the decision. Even the protagonists of the move, including Congress ministers and MPs, have questioned why the government invited trouble for itself, by going in for a decision which could easily have been deferred, at least till the forthcoming assembly polls were over.

    As it is, controversies have dogged the UPA's steps in recent months, and the government has found itself on the back-foot on scams, price rise and black money. And the first week of the winter session of Parliament was a complete washout. At the end of the day, not being able to run Parliament goes against the incumbent government more than the opposition.

    Some argue that the Cabinet decision on retail was economics-driven, the government having been stung by criticism that has come its way of late by India Inc that a paralysis had set in the government's decision-making processes.

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ] may have also wanted to signal the international community about his resolve to go ahead with second generation reforms. And Pranab Mukherji may want dollars to come in to improve the deteriorating position of the rupee vis a vis the dollar.

    But the central question remains: Can economics really be divorced from politics? Did the grand old party of India take a decision without paying heed to its political fallout? It is difficult to imagine that a party of experienced leaders would fall into that trap. Or did those involved really not care about the political implications and looked at the issue piecemeal, ignoring the overall picture?

    For a start, the decision has united the Opposition more than any other issue, even more than price rise which has agitated large sections of people. It has brought together the BJP and the Left parties. The Left has decided to support the all-India traders' bandh on Decemeber 1. Today the collaboration between the BJP and the Left is limited to floor coordination in Parliament.

    The Congress calculates that after 1992, and 2002 (the demolition of the Babri Masjid [ Images ] and the Gujarat riots), there cannot be a realignment of political forces, which include both the Left and the BJP. But the ways of Indian politics are strange and there is no saying what could happen, if the public anger and anguish continue to grow.

    Secondly, the UPA's outside supporters, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party, are on the rampage against the decision. Even if the BJP were to agree in the coming days to some kind of "via media" to allow Parliament to function, these UP parties are not likely to agree. They smell an opportunity in the forthcoming polls in UP. Mayawati [ Images ] has gone to town mounting a scathing attack against the Congress, with an eye on the votes of the not so inconsequential Vaish community in the state. Not to be outdone by her, Mulayam Singh Yadav [ Images ] has threatened to burn down Walmart if it comes to UP! As for the BJP, the trading community has traditionally been their committed vote bank.

    Thirdly, some of the former NDA allies are finding themselves on the same side of the fence as the BJP. Both J Jayalalithaa [ Images ] and Naveen Patnaik have condemned the decision in no uncertain terms, though the prime minister is believed to have spoken personally to several regional leaders to elicit their support.

    Most important, the Congress' allies, the Trinamool Congress [ Images ] and the DMK have delinked themselves from the decision -- which does little for the image of the UPA, and only goes to reinforce a climate of uncertainty.

    Equally serious are the rumblings from within the Congress party. As it is, a senior minister A K Antony had opposed the decision in the Cabinet meet. Kerala [ Images ] PCC chief Ramesh Chennithala has spoken out publicly against it and so has Haryana minister Kiran Choudhary. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

    The decision also comes as a setback for Rahul Gandhi's [ Images ] campaign in UP. It is said that Sonia Gandhi [ Images ] had left the decision to the prime minister and the finance minister. This is what she is believed to have conveyed to Commerce Minister Anand Sharma when he sought to see her to get her view in the matter.

    At the all party meet called by Mukherji on Tuesday -- the finance minister said very little in defence of the decision -- three options emerged. One to undo the decision, two to suspend it, and three to accept an adjournment motion followed by a vote. At the time of writing, it is the third scenario the government was working on, with toned down phraseology, but a vote would undoubtedly embarrass the government, with a large section of the political spectrum against the move.

    The question being tossed around is this: Is there a "method in the madness" being seen in Parliament? Did the Congress choose to take the decision knowing its consequences?

    One explanation being forwarded is that the prime minister is adamant about going ahead. He is in a frame of mind akin to the determination he had displayed when he had wanted the Indo-US nuclear deal to be adopted at all costs. His detractors say that if push came to shove, he may wish to quit on the issue economic reforms, than on something like 2G, which has suddenly taken a back seat.

    There are others who have begun to question whether the Congress has deliberately invited disruptions, so as not to have to pass the Lokpal Bill. It knows that the Standing Committee has come up with a version which is not going to pass muster with Team Anna, which is all set to launch another agitation.

    The Congress can legitimately blame the opposition for these disruptions. Scratch the surface, and the opposition leaders are also not really keen on the Lokpal Bill, their public rhetoric notwithstanding. The present situation also suits the opposition parties to the hilt in more ways than one.

    Neerja Chowdhury
     
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  3. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    conspiracy theory, just like pakistani's gives excuse for what ever happens.
    anyway GOI is not going back, weather parliament works or not. they have taken the decsion and eventually their allys will come around
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    No chance of TMC coming around.

    Mamata Bannerjee undertook a 26 days fast on the same issue FDI in retail!

    Surprising that Neerja Chaudhuri wrote this article.

    She was all for the UPA in her debates.
     
  5. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    just wait couple days, even SP will fall for it.
     
  6. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    just like mamta fasted no FDI, BJP batted for FDI and now they not supporting. mamta has already won west bengal elections, she good for five years.
    there is no reason for her to vote against. only thing is what bargain price she will ask for. DMK is now supporting the congress, couple of days ago they also wanted to repeal. GOI has taken the decision and they are not going back.
    weather parliament functions or not FDI is a law. parties will eventually come around.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    SP might but not TMC.

    Mamata Bannerjee is a like a mule.

    You do not know Mamata Bannerjee.

    I don't find her very comforting, but this much I will say is that if she has a bee in her bonnet, nothing can make her change.

    She has practically battled the CPM singlehanded over decades, against all odds and even common sense, and finally she got her way!
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  8. Pope Benedict XVI

    Pope Benedict XVI Regular Member

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    is congress is like democrats of usa?
     
  9. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    Ray,
    is there any party which stands for principle now days. parties rile up a lot, but at the end nobody will vote for early elections.
     
  10. SpArK

    SpArK SORCERER Senior Member

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    They do share the same party logo unofficially.
     
  11. Vyom

    Vyom Seeker Elite Member

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    They are already considering it, there is dissent within their own party.
     
  12. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    This a Pakistanesque conspiracy theory.

    "Congress ploy" indeed!!! Here our gentle sardar is trying his best to get some reforms pushed through, in the face of severe political opportunism indulged in by the BJP and other parties. And people still come up with conspiracy theories!!!
     
  13. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    A point to ponder for everybody pitching in for or against FDI in retail.

    Parties with opposing views and who are advesaries in elections have been drawn together in their opposition to the bill-- TMC & LEFT, DMK& AIADMK, BJP & Left, BSP & SP, BJD & BJP.

    A issue where parties cutting across affiliations are united , deserves more efforts from the Govt. rather than trying to ram it through.
    The path of confrontation with the principal opposition parties has been the hall mark of UPA in both it's avatars. Important legislation has been left hanging because the ruling party has never gone the extra step to have consultations with the principal opposition party, and the result has been there for everybody to see.
     
  14. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    Vyom,
    there will always be descent by some MP's, but the key power lies with the executive and core group of ministers, they are responsible for running the government. they are not going back away from it, whether parliament functions or not. parliament will kept in the disruptive mode for a while.
    GOI know that, even if they agree with the opposition, they will find some other issue to stall the parliament. so if the parliament is going to be stalled anyways what's the point in relenting on FDI. India is not mature enough like the U.S or U.K where from time to time some MP's cross the isle. absence of that the the key is to get to power, then think how many principles you can full fill in.
     
  15. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    If this is the idea of the Gentle Sardar nad his Madam to get reforms started then they should have concentrated in other sectors like mining, where the scope of FDI is in the range of 30 to 40 Billion Dollars compared to 2-3 Billion Dollars in Retail. You also have to look into it that the mining sector specially Coal India was the biggest drag during the boom period. They could never ramp up fast enough to meet the requirements of the industry.
     
  16. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    how many parties supported nuclear deal initially ? almost all opposed. they will get use to it. some parties are just posturing before the UP elections.
    they will come around.
     
  17. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Sukish, have you seen the Congress MPS most vocal in their opposition- Sanjay Singh and Aron whose constituencies border that of Amethi and are supposed to be very close to the Gandhi Family. They have not been asked to shut up and you need to know why. This gives ample space to Madam G to back track from this whenever the situation becomes very tricky. That is why you will not hear anything from the Mother-Son duo on this.
     
  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Mamata Bannerjee is no political party.

    She is a one person crusader type of a person and totally with a one track mind.

    Did you not read today's paper?

    Her MPs walked into the Parliament with placards against the FDI. Can she now go back?

    As far as elections are concerned, early or late, she is not concerned.

    She will have the runaway victory that she has already had.

    It will only boost her ego if she win another landslide at quick intervals and it will actually do her good since the people are still in what is known as the 'honeymoon period'.
     
  19. sukhish

    sukhish Senior Member Senior Member

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    Ray,
    she doesn't have to vote no, she can abstain, some allies have expressed reservation about the sourcing conditions. they want that sourcing to be increased from 30% to 40% or 45%. just watch GOI is not going to fall on this issue.

    mamta also wants a huge financial package for her state. they will persuade her to atleast abstain if not support
     
  20. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Opposition parties are united because of political opportunism. Don't expect me to see any noble agenda when it comes to retarded parties like the SP, RJD, Left, etc. The BJP tried to introduce 100% FDI in 2002, but couldn't achieve it then. And now these same people are creating FUD and obfuscation!!!

    All the noble sentiments of "consultations with all parties" are just for namesake when it comes to retarded parties like the SP, RJD, Left, and so on. All they want is votebank and to raise a hue and cry. Unfortunately even the BJP is behaving the same way here, as they did during the nuke deal.

    Sure - there are a lot of other sectors which they should have reformed, and which they hopefully will, going forward.
     
  21. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    FDI in retail must be thought through to include infrastructure to back it.

    It would have been better to have FDI in sectors where we require foreign expertise and technology, apart from finances to shore up India.

    Just try aircraft or ship or manufacture of its ancillaries and see how many jump into the fray!
     

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