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PM meets allies, FDI impasse continues

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday met the government's allies to discuss the issue of foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, as parliament was stalled yet again on the issue

In a tight spot over the FDI decision as key allies, including DMK, Trinamool Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) have spoken against it, he met partners in the Congress-led ruling United Progressive Alliance to try to iron out differences.

The meeting, held at the prime minister's residence, was attended by Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference (NC), Sudeep Bandyopadhyay of the Trinamool Congress, T.R. Baalu of the DMK and E. Ahamed of the IUML, as also Commerce Minister Anand Sharma of the Congress.

While sources say the Trinamool Congress is to abstain from voting if a motion on FDI in retail comes in parliament, the DMK is still keeping its cards close to its chest.

Talking to reporters outside parliament later, Trinamool Congress leader and Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi told reporters his party continues to be against FDI.

"We want what is good for the country, we talk about 'aam admi' (common man). It is just that what is good for India may not be good for other parts of the world, and what may be good for other parts may not be good for India," he said.

Opposition parties, meanwhile, stuck to their guns against FDI in retail. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made it clear it would not compromise on the text of the adjournment motion, the Left said the government was not serious about running parliament.

"We will not compromise on the text of the adjournment motion at all," BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters outside parliament.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury said the government was not interested in correcting its mistake.

"They took a decision in the cabinet when parliament was in session, that is against the propriety of parliament. Once having done that, they came, took our opinion, they said they will come back, as far as we are concerned they did not come to us. It shows the government is not serious," Yechury said.

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