FDI on hold, Pranab tells Sushma, Yechury

New Delhi : Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Monday spoke to Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj and Left leader Sitaram Yechury to convey the government’s decision to put on hold allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, sources said.

The Congress veteran is said to have assured the leaders that the government would consult the opposition parties and also various stakeholders before taking a final decision.

“Pranab Mukherjee spoke to Sushma Swaraj and L.K. Advani. We are not in favour of FDI in retail. We want government to clear their position,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

Sources said Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Yechury “reiterated that the government should call an all-party meet on the issue”.

Earlier in the day, Mukherjee had said that he would give a statement “on the floor of the house (parliament)”.

On Saturday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took everyone by surprise when she announced in Kolkata that the central government has decided to keep on hold its decision to allow foreign equity in retail till a consensus emerges on the issue.

She said Mukherjee had conveyed the government’s message to her.

The announcement triggered reactions from opposition parties who said any such decision should be announced officially.

Apart from the opposition parties, Mamata’s Trinamool Congress and DMK – both Congress allies – have not been in favour of FDI. Nearly half of parliament’s 21-day winter session has been lost to protests on the issue.

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