Retail FDI: Opposition not convinced with Mamata

BJP and the Left on Saturday appeared far from convinced that the government had put the FDI in retail decision on hold.

Updated: Dec 03, 2011, 21:58 PM IST

New Delhi: BJP and the Left on Saturday appeared far from convinced that the government had put the FDI in retail decision on hold and asked the UPA dispensation to make a formal announcement if it was serious about ending the deadlock in Parliament.
BJP said it would react only when the Government came
out with a formal announcement on putting the FDI issue
on hold.

"Till we hear from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on this issue, it will not
be appropriate for the BJP to react," BJP Chief spokesperson
Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Mamata Banerjee, chief of Trinamool Congress, a key UPA
ally, told reporters in Kolkata after speaking to Mukherjee
that Government has decided to suspend its decision on FDI in
multi-brand retail issue till a consensus is evolved.

Her party, Trinamool Congress is opposed to FDI in
retail.

"Mamata is saying something on the basis of what the
Finance Minister allegedly told her. Unless a formal comment
is made by the PM or the Finance Minister, it would not be
proper for BJP to react," Prasad said.

CPI also asked the government to spell out its plans
categorically.
"Nobody can make a statement on behalf of the Government
of India. An announcement of such nature and import cannot be
made by a Chief Minister," senior CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta
said.

"Pranabda sought our opinion on the issue and we told
him that the Trinamool Congress remains firm (in its
opposition to FDI in retail). He informed me that the Cabinet
decision on the issue will be suspended until and unless a
consensus is evolved," Banerjee said.

Dasgupta said a statement on the issue, which has
disrupted Parliament proceedings for five days, "can only be
made by the Prime Minister or a Minister of the government".

"An announcement by a Chief Minister cannot be taken to
be the basis for a comment. The decision has been taken by the
Government of India and not by West Bengal," he said.

UPA ally NCP, however, said this was the right decision
required to end the deadlock.

"It is the right decision. Since there is a logjam, it
has to be broken. Government has taken the right decision to
find a way out of the situation so that Parliament can
function and important bills pending can be cleared. We
welcome this decision," NCP spokesperson D P Tripathi said.

Though Banerjee and the TMC seem to have prevailed over
the Congress, the ruling party also welcomed the outcome.

"Congress welcomes all meaningful steps to break the
stalemate over FDI. In such a situation, a broad consensus is
required among different stakeholders. Mamata is our valuable
ally," AICC general secretary Janardhana Dwivedi said.

PTI