DMK remains non-committal on FDI

Cong to hold another meet of UPA allies

DMK remains non-committal on FDI

The DMK, a key ally of the UPA, chose to remain non-committal on the FDI issue on Sunday as party supremo M Karunanidhi’s meeting with Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad failed to make any headway except for another meeting of the UPA allies.

In the 75-minute long meeting , Azad, who is the AICC general secretary in-charge of Tamil Nadu, could not convince Karunanidhi to support the move to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail. The outcome of the meeting was that, owing to Karunanidhi’s demand, the Congress agreed to hold a meeting of its allies on the issue.

Azad said: “We will have another meeting of our alliance parties within a day or two and they can express their views (there).” He was accompanied by TNCC president B S Gnanadesikan. DMK MP Kanimozhi was also present in the meeting.

Azad said the main objective of the meeting was to ascertain Karunanidhi’s latest thinking on FDI as it was the third such meeting in the past one week after Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan had called on the DMK chief.

He said the Centre has considered the demand of several states opposing the FDI in retail and made an “enabling provision” in the bill which gives them the freedom not to implement the policy. “It is left to the respective state governments to implement or not implement the policy,” he said.

“If the state government in Tamil Nadu and the political parties here, including the DMK, decide that FDI in retail should not be implemented, they are welcome to do so,” he said.
He also stressed that the Centre would not force any state government to implement the policy.

‘States want FDI’

While agreeing to Karunanidhi’s demand for a fresh round of talks on the issue, Azad also told him that there were many states which seek to implement FDI and they should be allowed to enjoy the benefits of the policy.

“I told Karunanidhiji that while we accept his demand (not to implement it in Tamil Nadu), why should some other states which seek FDI be deprived of its benefits?  ...When they (states which want FDI) are not objecting, and you are not implementing (in your state), why should we (Centre) deny its benefits to those who want it?,” he said.

However, after the meeting, DMK sources said that the party had made no commitment to Azad in this regard and stressed that “the discussion is on-going”. Sources also said that the DMK is planning to press for a discussion on key issues – the 2G scam figures and spectrum licensing issue in the light of the former CAG official R P Singh’s latest revelations and the Sri Lankan Tamils –  in the ongoing winter session.

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