Congress still hopeful of a breakthrough | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Congress still hopeful of a breakthrough

The Congress party has not given up hope yet of evolving a broad-based consensus on the government's decision to allow 51% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail sector. HT reports.

delhi Updated: Dec 06, 2011 00:24 IST
HT Correspondent

The Congress party has not given up hope yet of evolving a broad-based consensus on the government's decision to allow 51% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail sector.

"We will consult all political parties to evolve a consensus ... We will try to convince everybody," Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury said.

West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee sprung a surprise last Saturday when she announced that the government had decided to put on hold its move to allow FDI in retail after her talk with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee over phone.

While the government has not officially confirmed or denied this, Mukherjee maintained he will reveal the next step on the issue only when Parliament reopens on Wednesday.

Congress sources, however, admitted the government has pressed the pause button and a final decision will be taken only after consulting political parties and all stakeholders in a bid to break the logjam in Parliament.

"The decision is right. In a democracy, sometimes you have to rework your steps....," Chowdhury said.

The party has issued a notice to its MPs to be present in Parliament on December 7 and 8.

But the opposition is adamant on its demand for a "complete rollback and not hold-back".

"We have an open mind on the issue but the opposition should give substantive reasons to justify its stand," Chowdhury said.

Chowdhury also denied that putting FDI on hold was bowing to Banerjee and added it was "wrong to project the move as a loss of face for the PM.”

In Fatehpur, union coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said, "The BJP is misguiding people ... The decision is a step in the right direction as it will help consumers and farmers and root out middlemen," he said.