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Pranab to brief Cong MPs on Govt's FDI policy

News18

Updated: November 30, 2011, 7:12 AM IST
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Pranab to brief Cong MPs on Govt's FDI policy
Sources say the government is unlikely to agree on an adjournment motion after the Prime Minister defended FDI.

New Delhi: There is a rift within the Congress party as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh continues to defend Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail. Congress troubleshooter and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is expected to brief party MPs on FDI and price rise on Wednesday.

This came after some Congress leaders opposed the new FDI policy, saying it could harm poll prospects and also alienate small traders.

Sources say the government is unlikely to agree on an adjournment motion after the Prime Minister defended FDI.

It is, however, likely to issue an assurance to small retailers.

Sources also say that Pranab met Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal late on Tuesday night to discuss the issue. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi also met Pranab Mukherjee and Pawan Bansal ahead of the meeting in Parliament on Wednesday.

Even as the UPA has been facing a tough time with Parliament not been running for six days, the Prime Minister has continued to do some tough talking.

"We are confident that the increase of FDI in the retail sector will bring the latest technology to India. The wastage of farm produce will decrease and farmers will get better prices for their crop. We are not forcing anybody to adopt FDI in retail. The Opposition must ensure that Parliament resumes," Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday.

Within the Congress though, the mood is of unease on the Prime Minister's tough line on FDI in retail. There is an increasing group of backbencher MPs, who are wondering on the need for the urgency on FDI in retail, that too at a time when the Anna Hazare led Lokpal agitation is on the boil again.

Adding to the government's problems is the adamant attitude of the opposition. The BJP, boyed by the agressive approach even of UPA allies like the Trinamool Congress and the DMK, is raising the ante.

CNN-IBN has learnt, however, that the government is veering around to the view of an adjournment motion on FDI, one of the key opposition demands.

To cut its damage, it may work out a compromise on the wording of the motion, so that it doesn't come across as a loser.

At the end of the day, the deadlock is yet to be broken. With a spate of public holidays and a weekend coming up, if a solution is not found by Wednesday, then the UPA run the danger of losing another full week of this winter session.

First Published: November 30, 2011, 7:12 AM IST
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