PM meets DMK, Trinamool leaders; no assurance on FDI rollback

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Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, Dec 1: With DMK and Trinamool Congress opposing FDI in retail, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today (Dec 1) reached out to the two UPA partners but gave no assurance of a rollback of the controversial decision that has led to logjam in Parliament.

During the meeting with leaders of the DMK and Trinamool Congress, Singh made it clear that the government was determined to go ahead with the decision taken last week to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent FDI in single-brand retail despite the widespread uproar, sources said.

The meeting came against the backdrop of members of DMK and Trinamool Congress joining opposition in demanding rollback and a discussion in Parliament under an adjournment motion.

The demands had led to stalling of Parliament for the last five working days.

Sources said the Prime Minister gave no assurance on scrapping the decision even as DMK and Trinamool Congress leaders conveyed their objection to it.

DMK leader T R Baalu told Singh that his party was against the decision and will not support it, sources said.

Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadyay, who represented his party, said the allies appealed to the Prime Minister to accept their request for rollback of the FDI decision.

“Sometimes allies may extend suggestions to bigger parties. It is not a Congress government. It is a combined government of ally parties," he said.

In the Lok Sabha too, Trinamool Congress was aggressive on the issue with some of its members, including Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, storming the Well and raising slogans against FDI.

Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, who is president of National Conference, was also present at the meeting. His party is with the government.

There were reports that Trinamool Congress could abstain from voting if an adjournment motion was taken up in Parliament but Mr. Bandopadhyay was evasive on this.

“Let the House start first. Voting will come later," he said.

At the meeting, Bandopadhyay said allies needed to be consulted before any key policy decision was taken by the government.

Asked whether the Trinamool Congress had softened its stand at the meeting with the Prime Minister, he said “it has become tougher."

The Trinamool Congress leader said his party understood the pulse of the people and hence was successful in overthrowing 34-year-old Left rule in West Bengal.

Expressing unhappiness over not being consulted on the FDI decision, Bandopadhyay said his party was a small part of the government which has to read in newspapers that FDI has been allowed in retail.

“On this, the Prime Minister assured us that such things will not happen in the future. That is at least first leg of victory," he said.

DMK pressed for a discussion in Parliament on allowing FDI in retail sector.

“DMK wants a discussion on FDI in retail in Parliament", party MP Tiruchi Siva told reporters.

On Wednesday DMK chief M Karunandihi, who had strongly opposed the FDI in retail, had said the party would decide on how to vote on the adjournment motion when the issue comes up.

PTI

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