Govt will reach out to DMK on multi-brand retail: Sharma
On Board PM's Special Plane: Facing the prospect of a No-Confidence Motion, government Tuesday said it will reach out to its sulking ally DMK to convince it about benefits of FDI in multi-brand retail even as it accused those opposing the move of having an "agenda" or "lack of comprehension".
Describing DMK as a "valuable ally", Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said, "I am sure the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) and "senior leadership of Congress has spoken and will speak to the leadership of DMK.
"We will convince them that all concerns that have been raised in the past have been addressed in shaping the policy factoring in the social and economic realities of India."
Sharma, who heads the nodal ministry behind the decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, insisted that interests of small traders have been fully protected.
Asserting that the UPA "remains strong" even though there could be "differences of approach of parties", he said all allies understand that stability is imperative considering the prevailing situation in the country and world.
"I am sure all those who have been with us will continue
to support the government where it concerns the larger national interest and keep at bay those who have partisan agenda," Sharma told journalists on board the special plane while returning from Cambodian capital Phnom Penh along with the Prime Minister.
Singh was in Phnom Penh to attend the ASEAN and East Asia Summits and Sharma accompanied him there.
On the opposition seeking to corner the government in the upcoming Parliament session, Sharma said, "We will effectively answer our opponents."
His comments assume significance as Trinamool Congress, former UPA ally, has decided to move a No-Confidence Motion in the Parliament session starting on November 22 and crucial UPA constituent DMK is apparently sulking and keeping its cards closed to its chest.
The NDA has decided to move a motion which entails voting on the issue. Left parties have also given notices for discussion on FDI issue under rules entailing voting.
Attacking the move to drag the FDI issue to Parliament, Sharma maintained that an executive decision has never been voted upon in Parliament.
He also rejected the opposition contention that since FDI has been notified under FEMA it should be voted upon in Parliament, saying these are only guidelines and voting can take place only if an amendment is brought to the FEMA Act.
Answering questions raised by the opposition, Sharma said
under the FEMA Act, any guidelines issued have to be brought before Parliament within 30 sitting days.
The FDI decision was taken when Parliament was not in session and the prescribed period was yet to lapse, he said, accusing the Opposition of having "selective memory".
He said those opposing the FDI decision and raking up the issue have "either some agenda or lack of comprehension".
Noting that the opposition has the right to bring any issue, Sharma said the government is prepared to answer as it has taken a considered decision taking into account all stake-holders.
Referring to the government decision to approve investments by IKEA, he expressed hope that the Opposition would welcome it.
Questioning the "noise" over the FDI decision, he said former NDA government had decided to allow FDI in organised retail.
"I don't expect the opposition to be enthusiastic with respect to the good job being done by the Prime Minister and the government," he said, adding he was surprised at the Opposition's observations and accusations.