Publicly, Congress president Sonia Gandhi might have maintained a silence on government's decision to allow 51% foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail but it was her intervention that saw the end of the two-week impasse in Parliament over the issue.
Party sources said it was Gandhi, the final arbitrator on crucial issues, who had insisted on evolving a broad consensus that included all stakeholders, allies and Congressmen.
The Congress was sharply divided on the issue with several leaders and MPs expressing concerns about the political fallout of the decision.
Subsequently, the government decided to suspend the decision till a consensus is developed.
The sources also said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had authorised finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to engage with Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in an attempt to convince her.The decision was conveyed to Banerjee, who surprised everyone by making it public.
A senior Congress functionary said Gandhi was keen to see an end to the impasse so that the winter session did not get wasted as had happened last year over the opposition's demand for JPC probe in the 2G scam.
At the same time, she wanted all allies — apart from the Trinamool and DMK, who had opposed the FDI in retail — to be on board on the issue.
The sources added that the decision was finally sealed in the Congress Core Committee on Friday where the emphasis was laid on consensus building on the issue.