Dinner diplomacy is being done by prime minister to convince opposition parties to propose a discussion on FDI in Parliament under rule 193 which does not entail voting. As the UPA government argues that it made an executive decision to allow big foreign supermarkets like Walmart to set up shop in India, and that it does not need the Parliament's endorsement of the decision.
At dinner , prime minister will convince the Bharatiya Janta Party leaders to ensure a smooth functioning of the winter session . The Monsoon Session was a complete wash-out as the BJP persisted with its attack over corruption charges.
Earlier prime minister has held a series of dinners and one lunch with allies , to consolidate the UPA's position ahead for the Parliament session.The government is likely to propose to BJP a discussion on FDI in Parliament under rule 193 which does not entail voting.
Senior BJP leader LK Advani, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counter-part Arun Jaitley are among those invited.
The BJP is in belligerent form as the Winter Session begins today - it has made clear that it wants the FDI in multi-brand issue discussed under Rule 184, which entails a vote.
Dinner with BJP Parliamentary Party Chief L K Advani, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley was scheduled for Saturday last, but had to be cancelled because of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray's death that afternoon. The PM left the country for Cambodia on Sunday and returned only on Tuesday night.
An all-party meeting called by the Lok Sabha Speaker all-party meeting on Tuesday failed to break the logjam. Dr Singh did not attend Speaker Meira Kumar's meeting.
The government has made all efforts to ensure it has the required numbers in the Lok Sabha if there is a vote; the PM dined with his allies last Friday. Before that he had Sunday lunch with the BSP's Mayawati and dinner with the SP's Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Both these parties provide crucial external support to the government, which was plunged into a minority after Mamata Banerjee walked out in September.
Though Trinamool Congress is still threatening to move a no-confidence motion inspite of clear indications from the BJP and the Left as also other opposition parties that they will not support it, the government can face embarrassment on FDI in multi-brand retail issue.
The government is trying to rope in support of BJP to ensure passage crucial Bills which have been hanging fire for long. These include Lokpal Bill, Land Acquisition Bill and the Food Bill in the upcoming session besides the proposed legislations on insurance and pension.