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PM reaches out to UPA allies, Congress parliamentary party meet cancelled

New Delhi, Thu, 01 Dec 2011 ANI

New Delhi, Dec.1 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr.Manmohan Singh, on Thursday met with leaders of the UPA, including representatives of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the National Conference (NC) and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) to discuss ways to end the ongoing stalemate in parliament.


The stand-off in parliament between the government and the opposition is primarily over the former's decision to allow 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, besides other issues such as the price rise, the return of black money stashed away abroad, the Telangana state issue and the Mullaperiya Dam dispute between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.


While the government is adamant about not entertaining a rollback on FDI, the opposition has also dug in its heels, saying that it will force the issue to be discussed through an adjournment motion that entails voting.


Dr. Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi have already met some of the UPA allies to allay their concerns. They have also interacted with Congress party members on the issue. The Congress Core group, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Congress chief's political secretary Ahmed Patel, met yesterday to decide how to tackle the FDI-related crisis.


On Thursday, the Congress cancelled its parliamentary party meeting at which Commerce Minister Anand Sharma was to address party members to ensure there was no dissent within the Congress on the FDI issue.


Sharma has been projecting the FDI issue as part of the country's second generation reforms.


The government currently has two options-to agree to the opposition's demand for an adjournment motion and vote on the issue in Parliament, or to suspend the decision and hold further consultations.


The winter session of parliament has remained paralysed for eight continuous days and is unlikely to function on Friday as well.


On Thursday, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned till tomorrow amid an uproar created by vociferous opposition members and members of the Trinamool Congress and the DMK. Several members were seen trooping into the Well of the Lok Sabha to register their protests.


In the Rajya Sabha, BJP, BSP, JD-U and AIADMK members, along with those of Trinamool Congress were on their feet soon after the House reassembled at noon.


Members of BSP, Left and BJP raised slogans demanding reversal of the FDI decision as some of them trooped into the Well. Members from Kerala, cutting across party lines, also moved into aisles raising the issue of safety of the Mullaperiyar dam in the state. Sensing their mood, Chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari adjourned the House for the day. (ANI)


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