While officially putting its weight behind the government's decision on FDI in multi-brand retail, the Congress on Wednesday went on an overdrive to allay the apprehension of its parliamentarians.
The party began a series of three meetings of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) to brief the party MPs, beginning Wednesday. In the first meeting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee touched upon the FDI issue while talking about inflation and black money.
On Thursday, Commerce minister Anand Sharma will brief the party exclusively on FDI policy.
A note prepared by Sharma will be circulated among the MPs before Sharma and Mukherjee meet them on Friday for a freewheeling Q & A session.
The finance minister narrated the sequence of the consultation process and pointed out that during the past year extensive talks with various stake-holders including the states on FDI retail. He emphasised that it will reduce the price differential between the wholesale and retail market.
On black money, Mukherjee made it clear that the names of bank account holders who had stashed away black money in foreign locations cannot be revealed as the government is bound by agreements with various countries. He also told them about India inking double taxation avoidance agreements with different nations.
While the party is trying to bring the MPs on board, the murmurs within the party haven't stopped.
Pravin Singh Aron MP from Bareilly wrote a letter to the PM and Sharma asking for review of the policy.
Meanwhile, Congress MP and JPC chief PC Chacko on Wednesday tried to downplay Kerala PCC chief Ramesh Chennithala's appeal to PM against the FDI in retail. "Whatever he said it is his personal view. The Kerala unit has not debated the issue and taken any stand," Chacko told HT.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari termed the in-house apprehensions as personal: "We do not comment on individuals," he said.