Govt left with one option to hold FDI in retail

New Delhi: As Parliament lay paralysed and UPA ally Trinamool Congress persisted with its opposition, the government is said to be considering putting on hold the decision to allow FDI in retail sector. Sources said such a move was considered as one of the options to break the logjam in Parliament but no decision has been taken.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and sought her support for the decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail sector which her party has strongly opposed.

Banerjee bluntly told the Prime Minister that she cannot back the decision though she did not favour the government being toppled on the issue. The Congress Core group, chaired by party president Sonia Gandhi, met in the evening and discussed the strategy to be adopted in Parliament.

One of the views expressed was that attempts should continue to be made to persuade hesitant allies like Trinamool and DMK which have 18 MPs each in Lok Sabha to positively vote with the government on a possible adjournment motion on the issue.

If the two allies still persist with their opposition and were disinclined to vote on an adjournment motion, then it was felt that putting the decision on hold could be one of the options to avoid any controversy at the moment, said sources.

The government was at any rate opposed to a vote on a policy issue which firmly falls in the ambit of the executive`s prerogative, the sources said.