FDI vote in RS: BSP, DMK to back UPA; SP to abstain

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government today inched a little closer to winning the vote on foreign direct investment in retail in the Rajya Sabha, as Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party categorically declared in the house that it would support the government on the motion.

Mayawati told the house that though her party has apprehensions about the FDI policy, she would still go with the government at this juncture.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, a constituent of the UPA, too declared that it would support the government, though it has made it clear earlier that it is against the idea of FDI in multi-brand retail. ''DMK has never let down friends; it will always be with UPA,'' DMK leader Tiruchi Siva said.

However, the Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh Yadav announced that it would abstain from voting on the issue and would instead stage a walk-out as it did in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

''Samajwadi Party will walkout from the Rajya Sabha during the vote on FDI,'' party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said.

Terming FDI in retail as a ''black law'' that would ''kill the farmers'' and destroy the livelihood of small traders, the SP asked the government to ''think over the issue''.