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Cong sees no crisis, backs PM as allies oppose FDI in retail

PTI  New Delhi, September 15, 2012
First Published: 22:57 IST(15/9/2012) | Last Updated: 22:59 IST(15/9/2012)

Congress on Saturday saw "no crisis" over the opposition of it allies like TMC to the FDI in retail and said that the party was fully behind Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue.

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Ruling out a roll-back of the decision to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail and the hike in diesel prices, the party said that they were "not surprise decisions".

Party spokesperson PC Chacko said that the decision to hike diesel prices was "inevitable" and that on FDI in retail was "well-thought out and thoroughly considered".

"Congress President has expressed full support to Government's decision on FDI in multi-brand retail. The Prime Minister has full support of the party on the issue," he said.

While maintaining that Congress takes "seriously" the opinions expressed by ally Trinamool Congress on diesel hike, Chacko also said that it was not a "surprise decision" and the petroleum price hike was on the card for a long time.

"This is an issue that cannot be dismissed in one sentence. There are two opinions on this matter in all parties. Even among those opposing it, there are people, who think that it is right decision given the circumstances," Chacko said.

"No crisis will happen. We are confident that nothing serious will happen affecting the government's stability. We have full majority...every party has to be ready for the floor test," was his refrain while replying to a question on whether Congress will be able to prove its majority in the back drop of stiff opposition by Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party supporting it from outside.

Downplaying the opposition by Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi party to the measures, he said that "differences amid coalition partners can be sorted out. We hope that good sense will prevail on all the parties and Government will have full support from all parties for the decisions."

"Government is not discussing revision of prices and other things at this moment," Chacko said while replying to another question. Chacko's response came on a day when Banerjee said in Kolkata that Trinamool Congress is not going to accept FDI in multi-brand retail under any circumstance and that Government should scrap diesel price hike immediately.

The Congress spokesperson said that as far as the SP's opposition to FDI in retail is concerned, he is hopeful that even within that party there will be a very heated debate on it.

An AICC functionary speaking separately felt Banerjee will not go to the extent of withdrawing support from the government and SP will also not like to "venture" into the direction .

The leader also pointed out that the BSP's announcement to take a final decision on continuing support to UPA on October 9 as a positive indication saying that by that time tempers will cool down.

At the party press briefing, Chacko said that these were "not surprise decisions" and were "not taken suddenly".

"The decisions were taken before and kept pending for a long time only to convince the allies," he said, adding that efforts to convince the allies and other parties of the inevitability of these will continue. "A better situation will emerge for the government in days to come," Chacko said.

When pointed out that Congress leader Anil Shastri also demanded a roll-back on diesel price hike and the restrictions on the number of subsidised cylinders, Chacko said there was nothing in wrong in Shastri's views.

He said that steps like hiking petroleum prices is anyway the last thing that any government chooses to do as it does have a cascading effect on prices of other commodities.

To a question on whether the government will call a meeting of UPA coordination committee to discuss these issues, Chacko said it can be considered if any ally demands it but no such decision has been taken so far.

Another party leader ruled out any possibility of roll-back of hike in diesel prices saying if it is done, it will give an impression that the government is not serious about the reforms.


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