Manmohan Singh to host dinner for UPA allies tomorrow

New Delhi, Nov. 15 (ANI): With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led opposition all set to corner the government during the almost month-long Winter Session of Parliament beginning next week, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, will host a dinner for UPA leaders on Friday, during which attempts will be made to firm up a joint strategy on various issues, including the government's executive decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.

The government is facing the prospect of dealing with a opposition-sponsored motion entailing voting on FDI and even a possible threat of a no-confidence motion.

Dr. Singh held talks with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati at a lunch last Sunday.

Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah had met the Prime Minister earlier last week.

BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad earlier yesterday said that his party would strongly oppose the government decision on FDI in multi-brand retail in the forthcoming Winter Session of Parliament.

Asserting that the decision to approve FDI in multi-brand retail is not in the interest of the country, Prasad announced that that 'the BJP will discuss its strategy with other NDA partners and also get in touch with political parties which have reservations on the issue'.

Allies of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are likely to hold a meeting on November 21 a day before the Winter Session of Parliament.

"We would like to put the government on the mat on this issue. In November 2011, the then Finance Minister had announced in the Lok Sabha that a decision on FDI in multi-brand retail will be taken only after consulting all concerned sections. A similar statement was made by the then Commerce Minister in the Rajya Sabha," said Prasad, while accusing the Centre of taking the decision unilaterally.

Moreover, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a crucial ally of the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre, yesterday continued the suspense over its stand on any resolution, which may be introduced in Parliament concerning the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.

"Small and medium retail traders in Tamil Nadu are apprehensive that Foreign Direct Investment would greatly affect them. We would discuss and take a decision on this (FDI) keeping their interest in mind," DMK chief M. Karunanidhi told mediapersons in Chennai.

"Let the DMK's stand remain a suspense. Only a movie with suspense does well," he added, when asked about the DMK maintaining suspense on its stand over the FDI issue and whether it would support a no-confidence motion against the UPA Government.

The support of DMK, which is the second largest ally with 18 Lok Sabha MPs, is very crucial for the UPA after the exit of Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC).

The Winter Session of Parliament will begin on November 22. (ANI)

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