No consensus at all-party meet on retail FDI, parliament adjourned

New Delhi : With consensus eluding an all-party meet on the government’s move to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, both houses of parliament were again adjourned Tuesday following opposition protests on the issue.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee chaired the meeting at the parliament annexe to arrive at a consensus over allowing FDI in the retail sector and getting all political parties to let the two houses to function. But the meeting failed to reach a breakthrough.

It was attended by opposition parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Left, AIADMK, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party as well as the Congress and its allies like the Trinamool Congress and DMK.

The meeting was being seen as an effort by the government to reach out to the opposition as five days of parliament’s winter session have been lost without transacting any major business. The winter session is slated to end Dec 21.

Soon after the meeting, both houses of parliament convened at 11 a.m. But within minutes, the presiding officers had to adjourn the respective houses till noon.

The members of opposition parties gathered near the presiding officers’ podiums demanding rollback of the decision.

As efforts to calm the opposition members failed, Rajya Sabha Chairperson Hamid Ansari and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the house till noon.

“It is likely that the finance minister will meet the prime minister before the house reconvenes,” a senior Congress party leader said, adding that the treasury may also seek to make a statement in the two houses.

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