No threat to UPA: Sharad Pawar



New Delhi: With Mamata Banerjee set to withdraw support to the government tomorrow, NCP chief Sharad Pawar saw no threat to the stability of the UPA coalition and dismissed demands for a special session of Parliament on the issue of FDI in retail.

The Union Agriculture Minister told a news agency that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had flagged the issues of FDI in retail, hike in diesel prices and a cap on subsidised LPG cylinders at the first meeting of the UPA Coordination Committee also attended by the Trinamool Congress chief.

Pawar's statement is at variance with Banerjee's claim that she was kept in the dark by the Centre on the key issues before it took the controversial decisions.

At the same time he said Banerjee, at the UPA Coordination Committee meeting, had told she would meet the Prime Minister later to give her views on the three issues.

Pawar saw allowing FDI in retail as a "win-win" for both the farmers and the consumers and saw no threat to small traders.

"Farmers would get a better price for their produce and consumers would also get farm products at a lower cost," he said, adding that he was "not among those who would oppose for the sake of opposition".

On the diesel price hike, Pawar said the unpleasant decision was taken as oil marketing companies were facing huge under-recoveries and banks had expressed difficulty in supporting them further if such a situation continued.

On talk in the BJP of convening a special session of Parliament, the NCP chief said, "What is the need for a special session? These are administrative decisions and it could be discussed whenever Parliament convenes. Why the hurry?"

PTI