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Sep 25, 2012 at 12:32pm IST

Live: BJP calls FDI, reforms anti-poor, Sonia says no threat to UPA govt

New Delhi: 12.20 pm: PM's economic reforms anti-common man, says BJP leader Rajnath Singh. He compares the UPA to East India Company saying its policies were similar to the British company that exploited the poor.

11.47 am: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Prakash Javadekar takes on Sonia Gandhi and the Congress and says that the government has introduced anti-people reforms. "We don't want these types of reforms. Those are not in the favour of this country. We cannot call it reform. Who has stopped UPA from constructing roads, improving the railway infrastructure or to constructing more ports?" he asks. He refuses to comment on Sonia's remark that the BJP had played negative politics over the reforms, saying the BJP will look into it.

He further accuses the UPA of breaking its promise to the Telangana activists. "Congress has always betrayed the feeling and emotions of the Telangana activists. The Congress promised that the process of separation of Telangana will start very soon but it didn't do so. We promise that we will grant Telangana's separate statehood demand within 100 days of coming in power," he says.

11.32 am: Sonia Gandhi says at CWC meet that there is no threat to the government and that it is stable.

11.26 am Congress decides at CWC to take out rallies across the country in support of FDI and to carry the reforms message to the people.

11.10 am Janardhan Dwivedi says that Finance Minister P Chidambaram told CWC that tough decisions were crucial for the economy.

11.08 am: Janardhan Dwivedi says Telangana was not discussed.

11.05 am: "Finance Minister P Chidambaram told CWC that the ways to improve economy were by improving productivity and getting more investments, containing inflation and cutting subsidies," says Janardhan Dwivedi. Dwivedi adds, "The option before the government was to bring in money from outside to stop the falling rupee value and reduce subsidy."

11.00 am: Janardhan Dwivedi addresses media, says that the CWC concluded that the role of the main Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been negative on reforms.

10.52 am: The CWC endorses FDI in multi-brand retail and other economic policy decisions announced by the Manmohan Singh government.

10.43 am: CWC meet ends.

10.00 am: Janardhan Dwivedi to address media after CWC meet ends.

9:20 am: The Congress Working Committee meeting began at party president Sonia Gandhi's residence 10 Janpath. Congress General secretary Rahul Gandhi was also present among the top Congress leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ambika Soni. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also present at the meeting.

The Congress leaders are meeting to take stock of the present political scenario, following the exit of Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress from the UPA.

While there will be a discussion on the road ahead for the Congress, the CWC chaired by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, will also look at solving the long-standing demand of the creation of separate state of Telangana. TRS chief K Chadrashekhar Rao has been camping in Delhi hoping for a formal announcement from the Centre on Telangana.

The CWC will also examine the impact of the present economic reforms being carried out. Some Congress leaders have been openly critical of the decision of hiking the prices of diesel and putting a cap on subsidised LPG.

There could also be a discussion on a larger role for Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi in the party as well.

The meeting is also significant as it is the first interaction of the CWC in the wake of the CAG report on the coal block allocation issue in which it has spoken of "undue benefits" to private players to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore.

Amid BJP demands for resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress has consistently rejected charges of any wrongdoing in the matter and had accused CAG Vinod Rai of having a political agenda like one of his predecessors TN Chaturvedi.

Chaturvedi's report on the Bofors issue back in the late 1980s had led to the entire Opposition resigning from the Lok Sabha. Mr Chaturvedi had later joined the BJP and become an MP, and later a governor.

The AICC has also highlighted "repeated errors" being manifested in CAG reports, wondering if the national auditor was "misusing" the credibility ordained to it by the Constitution.

The ruling party had also held the CAG as much responsible as the BJP for the disruption of the Monsoon Session of Parliament on the coal allocation issue.

Replying to questions, party spokesperson Manish Tewari on Monday said the Congress and the government were ready for a debate with the opposition on any issue, including the coal issue, FDI in retail and the reform initiative. "We are sure our offer will go unaccepted", he said.

(With additional information from PTI)

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