Govt seeks Oppn support in pushing reforms bills

New Delhi: A day after suspending FDI in retail, the government on Thursday sought cooperation from the Opposition, especially the BJP, in Parliament to pursue key reforms such as opening of the pension sector.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who played a trouble- shooter in resolving the impasse over FDI in multi-brand retail, appealed to the NDA that it should support the government which is trying to control inflation and grapple with the global economic crisis.

Replying to a debate on price rise in the Rajya Sabha, he said the government was following the reforms agenda initiated by the NDA Government.

"We adopted many of the measures which you initiated, including PFRDA (Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority) bill. My only request ... the baby which you gave birth to, do not leave it with bathwater. Let me carry it on, let me nurse it, let me come to mature it," he said.

Reform is a continuous process, Mukherjee said, adding when the Congress was in opposition, it cooperated with the government. The government needs of support of NDA to push important reforms bills in Parliament.

Referring to the logjam over foreign direct investment in retail, he said though it would have benefited the country, "let's forget about it. That is the story of yesterday. Let's look forward".

After Opposition and Trinamool Congress and DMK, paralysed Parliament for over a week, the government put its decision to open the retail sector to FDI on hold.

On price, while Mukherjee asserted that the government has taken several measures, the Opposition accused the UPA of being insensitive to the plight of the common-man. The Opposition staged a walk-out in the Rajya Sabha and sought to corner government in the Lower House as well on the issue.