Congress Core Group meets on FDI issue

New Delhi, Nov 30: Grappling with the logjam in Parliament over the decision on FDI in retail, the Congress Core Group on Wednesday discussed the issue but could not take any decision.

“No decision," an informed source said after the hour-long meeting that took place at the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which was also attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Senior ministers Pranab Mukherjee, A.K. Antony, P. Chidambaram and Congress General Secretary Ahmed Patel also attended the meeting.

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma was also called in to explain the decision on allowing 51 per cent in FDI in retail over which allies Trinamool Congress and DMK have strong objections while the entire opposition barring Akali Dal is opposed to it.

The meeting is understood to have discussed various options including accepting a debate through an adjournment on the FDI which could end with a voting. In that case, the efforts should be made to persuade the protesting allies to oppose the adjournment motion which would also be suitably toned down in its criticism of the government.

As of now, the government is sticking to its stand that FDI decision was not taken in haste and would benefit various sections including farmers and consumers alike apart from several other benefits.

Both Houses of Parliament lay paralysed for the seventh successive day without transaction of any business.

After the core group meeting, Mukherjee, who has been the main trouble-shooter of the government, merely said, “We are trying our best to break the logjam in Parliament. But, we are not the only party. We are willing to discuss the issues."

Speaking separately outside Parliament, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said that “the matter should be reconsidered by the government. They have to withdraw the FDI decision and then we will discuss."

Lashing out at the government, Dasgupta said, “what the government is doing... they would like to destroy the Parliamentary system in India."

Squarely blaming the government for the logjam in Parliament, CPI(M) Parliamentary Party leader Sitaram Yechury said, “Nobody has come to us on the FDI issue after the all-party meeting. We are yet to get any response from the government side after the meeting held yesterday."

Insisting on withdrawing the decision, Yechury said “Many political parties want the FDI roll back. There should be a discussion on it in the House after the rollback and after that taking the sense of the House a further decision should be taken on it," he said.

He said it is a big mistake on the part of the government to think it would be able to arrest the falling values of rupee through FDI.

Keywords: FDI in retail, Congress Core Group, Winter Session, Parliament session, Parliament logjam


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