FDI roll back unlikely at all-party meeting

New Delhi : The government is not likely to go back on its decision to allow 51 percent FDI in retail at Tuesday’s meeting of floor leaders in parliament to resolve the impasse over the contentious issue, official sources said.

They said the government will seek to allay apprehensions of opposition members and answer their queries on the issue that has brought together the entire opposition and raised dissenting voices from within United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

The sources said the government will tell the opposition that the decision had been taken in larger national interest.

“It is an effort to talk to them,” a minister said on condition of anonymity.

He said the government had taken a “considered decision” and “there cannot be a roll back” at the meeting Tuesday.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the afternoon over the stalemate in parliament. The Congress core committee meeting also discussed the issue in the evening.

The meeting of floor leaders has been convened by House Leader in the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee and will include floor leaders from all parties with four or more members.

The meeting, which is scheduled to be held at 9.30 a.m. Tuesday, may also discuss legislative proposals pending in parliament.

“The meeting will also talk about other issues on the agenda in the winter session, including pending legislations,” Minister of State for Parliament Affairs Harish Rawat said .

The government move comes after five days of parliament’s winter session have been lost without transacting any major business. The price rise and Telangana issues led to repeated adjournments of the two houses of parliament last week.

The meeting is being seen as an effort by the government to reach out to the opposition. Official sources said the government had already agreed to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demand for adjournment motion on black money but said the opposition had been changing its stance. They indicated that the government is not likely to agree to an adjournment motion on FDI decision.

The two houses were adjourned Monday on the issue of FDI in retail decision.

The opposition parties including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies, the Left, AIADMK, along with parties giving external support to government like Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party and allies like Trinamool Congress and DMK demanded a rollback in the decision to allow FDI in retail.

The sources said that if BJP and Left were sure of numbers, they would have brought a no-confidence motion against the government.

The BJP has categorically stated it will not let parliament function without a rollback of the decision.

“The government should announce a rollback of the decision. If they announce a rollback this night, there will be no need for this all-party meet,” Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj told reporters.

“Parliament can then proceed with discussion on price rise and black money as decided,” she said.

The government had last week allowed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail trading up to 51 percent and also liberalised policy in single-brand retail trading.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also met President Pratibha Patil to discuss the parliament logjam Monday.

The meeting lasted 40 minutes, according to a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique here.

“The two leaders discussed the ongoing session of parliament,” the statement said.

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.