FDI decision suspended pending consensus: Mamata quotes Pranab (Second Lead)December 3rd, 2011 - 9:44 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Dec 3 (IANS) In a sudden and dramatic twist, the central government has decided to keep on hold its decision to allow foreign equity in retail till a consensus emerges on the issue, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Saturday, citing 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’ Buildings, here.
Banerjee said during the talks, the union minister asked for the opinion of her party Trinamool Congress - the second largest partner, with the DMK, in the United Progressive Alliance government - to find a solution to the vexed issue.
The sudden announcement, coming a day after the government firmly ruled out any rethink on the cabinet decision, took the media by surprise, and representatives of several national and local media were not present when Banerjee spoke at the podium before her chamber.
Also, though Banerjee is one of the most important leaders of the ruling coalition, she is not part of the union government.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid had said Friday the decision on allowing 51 percent foreign equity in multi-brand retail was well thought out but could not be taken back because the opposition was “shouting”.
But on Saturday, Banerjee said the government decided to put the matter on hold following her talks with Muukherjee.
“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.”
“Trinamool Congress is always in favour of farmers, retailers and small traders,” she said.
Banerjee, however, denied that she was bargaining for a special package from the central government as a pre-condition for Trinamool Congress’ support on the retail issue.
Nearly half of parliament’s 21-day long winter session has been lost to protests mainly over foreign equity in retailing, leaving the government’s elaborate legislative agenda unsettled.
Small traders, fearing loss of livelihood, organised a day’s strike Thursday demanding a rollback.
–Indo-Asian news Service
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- Pranab refuses comment on FDI decision - Dec 03, 2011
- Mamata and government's FDI 'climbdown' (West Bengal Newsletter) - Dec 04, 2011
- Mamata says FDI decision on hold; government mum - Dec 03, 2011
- Ally Trinamool joins BJP, Left in opposing FDI in retail - Nov 24, 2011
- Sense has prevailed with government: BJP - Dec 03, 2011
- No loss of face in decision to pause FDI in retail: Congress - Dec 07, 2011
- Trinamool to continue opposition to FDI in retail - Aug 10, 2012
- Heat on FDI grows, government calls all-party meeting - Dec 05, 2011
- 'FDI in multi-brand retail a bold step by PM' - Nov 25, 2011
- Sharma to reveal states which supported FDI in retail - Dec 03, 2011
- Congress faces opposition from allies over crucial decisions - Dec 13, 2011
- No reversing decision on FDI in multi-brand retail: Sharma - Jul 27, 2012
- Anand Sharma writes to parties clarifying FDI stance - Nov 28, 2011
- PM dials, but Mamata says a firm 'no' on FDI - Dec 02, 2011
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