New Delhi: The Congress Working Committee on Tuesday endorsed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's big bang reforms including FDI in multi-brand retail with party President Sonia Gandhi coming out strongly in support of the measures and blaming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of playing negative politics on the issue.
The meeting also backed the government's move to reduce fuel subsidy by hiking diesel prices and capping subsidised LPG cylinders.
Sonia Gandhi assured the members that there was no threat to the government even though the Trinamool Congress had quit. Taking an aggressive stand she said, "The government is stable despite all the recent developments."
The CWC decided that the party should come out aggressively in support of the recent reforms and economic decisions. The party also said that rallies would be taken out across the country in support of FDI and other reforms.
Out of 35 members and invitees, 29 attended the meeting. Twenty-one leaders spoke and everyone said that precautions must be taken to ensure that all apprehensions regarding FDI are addressed.
After the meeting, Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi said that Finance Minister P Chidambaram told the CWC that tough decisions were crucial for the economy. Finance Minister P Chidambaram told the CWC that the only ways to improve economy were to bring in more investment, improve productivity, contain inflation and cut subsidy.
Manmohan Singh pointed out that flagship programmes could not be implemented properly till the economic situation was not strong. "The option before the government was to bring in money from outside to stop the falling rupee value and reduce subsidy," Dwivedi added.
The hike in diesel price, cap on subsidised LPG cylinders and FDI in retail has been used by the Opposition as well as some Congress allies to target the UPA Government.
A nation-wide strike was called by the Opposition parties on September 20 to protest against the UPA's decision. One of the UPA constituents, the Trinamool Congress, even quit the government protesting against the decision.