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Retail FDI: Congress closes its ranks, begins negotiations

Ruling out roll-back of its FDI retail policy as demanded by the opposition and some allies, the Congress tried to close its ranks while bracing to face a possible adjournment motion in Lok Sabha on the issue. HT reports. Guide to FDI in retail | Only meetings | For govt, voting option holds umpteen pitfalls

delhi Updated: Dec 01, 2011 09:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Retail FDI,Cong closes its ranks,begins negotiations

Ruling out a rollback of foreign direct investment in the retail sector, the Congress on Wednesday closed ranks while bracing for a possible adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha. It is also understood to have considered suspending the Cabinet decision till the winter session got over.

Party managers also reached out to the BJP to find a mutually agreeable text of the adjournment motion that would save the government from a major political embarrassment. The attempt to bridge the gap on the text of the motion didn’t succeed. BJP’s LK Advani is believed to have rejected finance minister Pranab Mukherjee's proposal of a one-line text.

Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj tweeted in the evening that the government wanted a discussion but the BJP wanted an adjournment motion so that there was a vote and not just a debate, indicating that Parliament won’t be functioning for a few days more. It has had no business since it convened on November 22.

While the Congress has not yet taken a final call on strategy, it has time till next Wednesday, when Parliament meets again after Muharram.

"We have enough time in hand to take a final call," a senior minister said.

“Congress has the numbers in Parliament to face adjournment motion. Hair-splitting over Congress' numbers unnecessary," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
Before convening the core committee meet, Congress president Sonia Gandhi is learnt to have consulted some of her lieutenants over the two options - facing an adjournment motion or suspending the cabinet decision. The PM, too, asked for a "risk analysis" between the two options.

Many in the party brass were in favour of announcing the "suspension" of the decision citing the "wrong timing" but the PM is believed to have firmly stood behind his decision in the in-house discussions.

The government is also banking on the calculation that not many parties and MPs would like to face a mid-term general election. In the Congress' calculation, Trinamool Congress too-that still demands a roll-back-would definitely not vote along with the Left and the BJP against the government. The DMK has already indicated that it would not vote against the government.

First Published: Dec 01, 2011 00:56 IST