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BJP says no to Govt, seeks roll back of retail FDI

CNN-IBN
Dec 05, 2011 at 07:12pm IST

New Delhi: The Opposition has rejected the Government's stand that the decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail has been put on hold. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday made it clear that the party will not relent on its demand for a complete rollback of allowing FDI in retail.

Senior BJP MP and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha told CNN-IBN that his party wants "rollback and not holdback on FDI". He was reacting to Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee calling on BJP MPs Sushma Swaraj, LK Advani and Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Sitaram Yechury to try and end the deadlock on the issue.

"The Government is trying to build consensus now. It should have consulted allies and Opposition before taking the decision. Our stated position has been that there should be a rollback and not merely a holdback or keeping it in abeyance. BJP's demand is to rollback FDI in retail not holdback," Sinha said.

"The Government should call an all-party meeting to settle the FDI in retail issue. The Government must take Opposition into confidence on all important policy issues whether it seeks a vote or not in Parliament. The Government took FDI decision when Parliament was in session. It should have consulted us. This Government acts first, then thinks," he said.

He also criticised the Government for projecting FDI in retail as a cure for the economic slowdown in the country.

"FDI is retail is not the way forward. There are 100 other ways to address the economic slowdown," he said.

He also rejected the charge that BJP was going back on allowing FDI in retail as it was mentioned in the party's manifesto during the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

"It was not part of our vision document in 2004. In 2009 our manifesto clearly stated BJP was opposed to FDI in retail," he added.

Meanwhile, Pranab Mukherjee said that any statement on FDI in retail by the Government will be made on the floor of the House. He also added that he would not react to Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's announcement on Saturday the decision has been put on hold.

"Parliament is in session. Any policy statement has to be made on the floor of the House. She is not a central minister, therefore whatever she says, I cannot say," said the Finance Minister.

The Centre has been trying to break the Parliament deadlock which has seen the first nine days of the winter session passing without any business being transacted.

Pranab on Monday appealed to Sushma to allow normal functioning of Parliament but the BJP leader made it clear that the Opposition wanted a clear statement from the Government in Parliament on its stand on FDI in retail.

After the meeting sources told CNN-IBN that the Opposition has conveyed to the Government that it was okay with the idea of putting FDI in retail on hold till a consensus was reached.

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