Remaining firm in her party’s opposition to the UPA government’s decision on FDI in retail, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that her party is not in favour of the government being toppled.
“I have had a discussion with the Prime Minister on FDI in retail. I told him that we don’t want the government to be toppled on this issue. This is a very sensitive issue. But at the same time, it is not possible for us to support FDI entry into retail. I am sorry,” the Trinamool Congress chief told reporters after an administrative meeting here in Hooghly district.
“Since you are requesting me, we can discuss this in the party. But our party’s stand is clear,” she said.
Urging the Prime Minister to reconsider and withdraw the Centre’s decision, she said, “If necessary, the government should talk to all UPA partners and seek suggestions and ensure that the move is withdrawn.”
“The Prime Minister requested me to reconsider my party’s stand (on the issue). I requested him if the Centre could reconsider the decision. We have a definite stand on this issue. Our party’s stand on this is declared in our manifesto,” she said.
Claiming that farmers were forced to buy fertilisers at higher prices, Banerjee said, “Who is responsible? The Centre is responsible. The Centre has also not kept its word to raise the minimum support price for jute growers. We have to protect our farmers. That is our government’s policy.”
Trinamool Congress leader and MP Derek O’ Brien told the news agency from New Delhi that his party “wants a rollback of the decision of allowing FDI in retail. TC’s stand is consistent”.
“This was the party’s stand during parliamentary election in 2004, the assembly election in West Bengal in 2006 and also in 2011. Entry of FDI in retail will do more harm than good,” he added.
The Trinamool Congress is the second largest constituent in the UPA with 18 members in the Lok Sabha.