New Delhi: The government on Monday found
itself in a tight corner on the issue of FDI in retail with
allies Trinamool Congress and DMK joining the Opposition in
demanding withdrawal of the decision paralysing Parliament and
an all party meeting has been called tomorrow to break the
DMK, which joined the Trinamool Congress in opposing
the decision, described as "dangerous" allowing FDI in retail
trade alleging it will affect lakhs of small traders as well
as the poor and middle class consumers.
The two allies with 18 MPs each constitute the largest
groups after Congress, which heads the UPA coalition, and have
demanded a roll back of the decision immediately.
With the Opposition displaying rare unity against the
decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment in
multi-brand retail, Leader of the Lok Sabha and Finance
Minister Pranab Mukherjee will meet floor leaders of political
parties in a bid to break the deadlock.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who met Congress
President Sonia Gandhi in the noon, held parleys with senior
ministers Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, AK Antony and Commerce
Minister Anand Sharma in the evening on the strategy the
government will adopt tomorrow.
There was speculation whether government would at least
put on hold the FDI decision in the interest of functioning of
But Parliamentary Affairs Minister PK Bansal said the
government is convinced that the FDI decision was in the
larger national interest and would benefit every section of
Tomorrow`s meeting has been convened as an effort to
talk to the Opposition to ensure that Parliament, which has
been paralysed for five days, functioned.
On his part Sharma sought to reach out to Opposition
parties by writing a letter to them and appealed to them to
rise above "petty partisanship" on the issue.
The entire Opposition, barring BJP ally Akali Dal, put
the blame on the government for Parliament`s disruption saying
they were not not consulted on such a vital issue. The unity
among the Opposition has also surprised the government.
Notices of adjournment motion on the issue were tabled
by leaders of several parties in the Lok Sabha which are under
the consideration of Speaker Meira Kumar. Similar notices
were also tabled in the Rajya Sabha.
"Scrap the decision by the night. Parliament can
function tomorrow," Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj
told a press conference.
JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said the Congress took the
FDI deliberately to sabotage Parliament at a time when it was
scheduled to discuss crucial issues like price rise and black
Yadav, who is NDA convener and BJP spokesperson
Shahnawaz Hussain, said the question of allowing Parliament to
function does not arise till government reverses the
The Opposition has said that the decision would sound
the death knell for millions of small traders and cause huge
unemployment in the rural areas.
The FDI decision has also met with stiff resistance
from Chief Ministers of non-Congress states like Uttar
Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Orissa and those ruled by BJP.
West Bengal Chief Minister and TC leader Mamata
Banerjee has already said the decision would not be
implemented in the state.
DMK President Karunanidhi said the Centre`s insistence
that states should implement the decision was not justified.
Kerala PCC President Ramesh Chennithala has written to
the Prime Minister expressing his opposition to the decision
and wanted that it should not be implemented in the state.