The central government has decided to keep on hold its decision to allow foreign equity in retail till a consensus emerged on the issue, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Saturday after talking to union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
"I had telephonic conversations with him twice today (Saturday). He has told me that the centre has decided to suspend implementation of the decision to allow FDI in retail. He has told me that the decision will not be implemented unless there was consensus on the issue," Banerjee told media persons at the state secretariat, Writers' Buidlings, in Kolkata.
Banerjee said during the talks, the union minister asked for the opinion of the Trinamool Congress - the second largest partner in the United Progressive Alliance government with the DMK - to find a solution to the vexed issue.
"In a coalition government, a policy is formalised after discussions among all partners. So, after I spoke to Pranabda, a decision has been taken. The cabinet decision which had earlier been taken on this issue has been suspended," she said.
Describing it as a "big step", she said: "The issue is now over. The issue is settled. It's a pro-people decision."
Banerjee said she also asked Mukherjee whether there was any possibility of the government implementing the decision later. "I have been told that there are no ifs and buts, unless there is a consensus, the decision will not be implemented."
Banerjee thanked all organisations and political parties who had protested on the issue and referred to the "strong stand" taken by her party.
"We were the first party which opposed it. Our minister Dinesh Trivedi opposed it in the union cabinet."