FDI vote in RS: UPA lacks the numbers, but Sonia confident

With the government having won the vote in the Lok Sabha, the stage for the continuing drama over foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail today moved to the Rajya Sabha, where the United Progressive Alliance does not have the same numbers as in the lower house.

Rajya SabhaThe motion against the government over FDI in retail was moved by D Raja of the Communist Party of India and V Maitreyan of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, even as the UPA government was making last-ditch efforts to secure the direct support of friendly parties like Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party and Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party.

Earlier this morning, Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi met senior Congress leaders and MPs at her residence to chalk out a strategy for the Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha was adjourned today following an uproar over Babri mosque demolition issue.

The abstention of the SP and BSP from voting had helped the government sail through in the Lok Sabha, but it is likely to need the active support of both the parties to win the vote in the upper house, where it is well short of the 123 'nay' votes it needs in the house of 245 members.

The UPA has a strength of 90 in the upper house. With 27 outside supporters from the BSP, the SP, the Lok Janshakti Party and the the Rashtriya Janata Dal, it would tally 117 votes, still short of the required 123. The opposition claims the support of 110 members. Besides, there are seven independents, five from smaller parties and 10 nominated members.