Government wins FDI vote in Lok Sabha
New Delhi: The Manmohan Singh-led government saved itself some possible embarrassment Wednesday when it comfortably won the vote in the Lok Sabha on foreign investment in multi-brand retail that is seen as important step in its reform process. It also won another motion on amendments to the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to facilitate its initiative.
Both the motions had been moved by the opposition. The first, main, motion on the government's decision to allow 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail that would allow global supermarket chains to set up shop in India was moved by the BJP and the CPI-M. The second one opposing amendments to FEMA was moved by the Trinamool Congress.
With the rival Uttar Pradesh parties, Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which prop the ruling UPA from outside, strategically walking out of the house before the vote, the government sailed through the challenges.
The halfway mark needed to win the votes was reduced with the SP's 22 MPs and the BSP's 21 abstaining. Propelled by the unlikely Mulayam Singh Yadav-Mayawati combination, the government won the FDI motion with a 35 vote margin -- 218 votes for the opposition motion, 253 against in a house with 471 members.
The FEMA motion was won by 30 votes -- in a house with 478 members, the opposition got 224 votes and the government 254.
"We are very happy. We have the support of the house," said a beaming Communications Minister Kapil Sibal while lauding the country's "vibrant democracy".