Mamata-hit Congress puts retail FDI on hold

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee assured TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee that no FDI would be implemented unless there is a consensus in the cabinet.

Zeenews Bureau

Kolkata: In a bid to end the impasse in the Parliament, the government on Saturday put on hold its decision to allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.

The government decision was revealed by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday reportedly assured Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee that no foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail would be implemented unless a consensus is reached in the cabinet over the issue.

Mamata Banerjee said that Pranab Mukherjee made this assuance during a telephonic conversation with her.

"Pranabda sought our opinion on the issue and we told him that the Trinamool Congress remains firm. He informed me that the cabinet decision on FDI entry in retail will be suspended until and unless a consensus is evolved," Banerjee told reporters in Kolkata.
"If that is so, the issue is settled," she added.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, however, declined to comment on Banerjee`s statement but admitted that he spoke to her.

"I talked to her twice, but officially I can`t make any announcement as Parliament is in session," Mukherjee told reporters at his Kolkata residence.

"Any government decision will be made in Parliament," he added.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called up the West Bengal Chief Minister and had requested her to reconsider her party`s stand on the issue.

"I also assured him that Trinamool Congress does not want to topple the government. But at the same time, we are not in favour of FDI in the retail sector," she said.
Banerjee strongly denied reports that her government was seeking a special package from the Centre on condition of her party`s support on the FDI issue.

The West Bengal Chief Minister said that a coalition government could not be run on the opinion of one party and a policy decision is evolved when two opinions are converged.

Mukherjee, who was in the city visited the ailing mother of Banerjee at a local hospital.

The government has been trying to build a consensus among the allies on the issue of FDI in retail.

Ever since the government announced FDI in multi brand retail, Trinamool Congress rocked the UPA boat by registering its opposition.

The jostling over FDI in retail continued to paralyse both the Houses of Parliament without transacting any business. The opposition NDA and Left parties continue to stand firm on complete rollback of the FDI.

Prime Minister has declared that it was not a decision taken in haste but a well considered one.

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