The Lok Sabha is expected to vote on Wednesday evening to break the deadlock between political parties over the UPA government's move to allow 51 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail sector.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) moved motion against FDI in retail after a heated debate in the Parliament on Tuesday, with BJP senior leader Sushma Swaraj alleging that the policy would affect small-scale farmers and traders.
The Upper House (Rajya Sabha) too has taken up the debate on FDI in retail on Wednesday.
Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday attacked the UPA, accusing the government of not consulting stake holders despite assurances in the parliament. She added that allowing FDI in retail will lead to massive unemployment and would benefit farmers in China.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Dara Singh Chauhan also expressed their apprehension of the government's move during the debate.
However, Communication and Information technology minister Kapil Sibal said that it is up to the state governments to introduce the policy. He added that only 18 states would implement it initially.
"I don't think this discussion was necessary. It is merely from a political standpoint. The government decided that FDI will be allowed in cities with a population of more than 10 lakhs - there are only 53 cities that meet this criteria," ANI quoted Sibal as saying.
The UPA government has expressed confidence to survive the motion but the stand of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and BSP, which provide external support to the government, will decide the final outcome.
The UPA government needs 273 votes in the 545-seat Lok Sabha to defeat the motion, but the majority mark will be scaled down to only 251 if the SP and BS abstain from voting. UPA has 261 MPs.
The UPA government will face stronger resistence in the Rajya Sabha. It needs 123 votes for majority in the 245 member-House as the total strength of the UPA is only 90. The total tally stands at 117 even if it gets support from the BSP, SP, Lok Janshakti Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal.