Wednesday, 05 December 2012 12:38
NEW DELHI: India's government, which lost its majority in September, faced a test of its ability to marshal support in parliament on Wednesday with a vote on a contentious recent reform of the retail sector.
After two days of stormy debating in the rowdy lower house, lawmakers are set to pass judgement on new rules opening up the highly protected retail sector to foreign supermarkets that are being allowed in for the first time.
While a loss for the left-leaning coalition of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would not reverse the policy, it would be a severe blow to the government and would set back efforts to push through other pro-market reform measures.
The likelihood of early elections before their scheduled date in 2014 would also rise, but coalition insiders have expressed confidence the government will defeat the non-binding motion against them with the help of outside allies.
"We are in touch with all (parties). ...