PM speaks to Mamata on FDI

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday reached out to eastern Indian state West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the leader of key UPA constituent Trinamool Congress which is opposing the Centre`s decision to allow FDI in retail.

Singh spoke to Banerjee, PMO sources said about the phone call made with an apparent aim of enlisting her party`s support while citing the benefits the Centre`s decision would accrue.

Trinamool Congress has been vociferously opposing the decision to allow 51 per cent Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent FDI in single brand retail.

The Prime Minister on Thursday convened a meeting with leaders of Trinamool along with DMK, which is also opposed to the decision, but they remained unconvinced. Singh gave no assurance on accepting the demand for rollback of the decision.

Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadyay, who represented his party at the meeting, later said the allies appealed to the Prime Minister to accept their request for rollback of the FDI decision. "Sometimes allies may extend suggestions to bigger parties. It is not a Congress government. It is a combined government of ally parties," he had said.

Rejecting intense demands, the Prime Minister on Tuesday justified the decision on FDI as a well considered move aimed at creating jobs, improving remuneration of farmers and enabling import of technology besides benefiting consumers.