Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday defended the government's decision to suspend its earlier move of allowing 51% FDI in multi-brand retail, an issue that brought the UPA allies and the opposition on the same page.
Briefing party MPs, Mukherjee pointed out that a situation was evolving where for the first time in India’s parliamentary history government’s allies would have voted in favour of an adjournment motion.
“This would have created an awkward position for the government. An adjournment motion is similar to a no-confidence motion,” an MP quoted Mukherjee as having said at the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting.
Some media reports suggested that Mukherjee had said the government was “compelled” to suspend the move to avoid mid-term elections.
But HT spoke to a number of Congress MPs who denied Mukherjee having made any mention about the mid-term polls. Even Mukherjee denied having said that.
What the finance minister said was that allies were not on board on the issue and the government was keen on building a consensus after consultations with all stakeholders and the UPA partners.
However, he made it clear the suspension did not amount to roll-back and that the government would strive to develop a consensus on the issue.
Mukherjee also briefed them about steps taken by the government to deal with the black-money issue. The opposition is planning to raise the matter in parliament next week.
He said the drive against black money would show results over the next five years and that India was playing an important role at the international fora in highlighting the importance of exchange of banking information and sharing of past data.