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Urging Mamata to support Pranab, Cong says FDI in retail soon

Sunday June 17, 2012 11:09:25 PM, IANS

New Delhi: The Congress Sunday urged Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to support UPA presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee and also said the government will shortly bring foreign equity in retail that she has blocked.

"Mamata should forget what happened in the past. She should reconsider her decision to vote against Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential polls as this is a brother's message to a sister," Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh told Aaj Tak news channel.

He also said FDI in retail was on its way.

"We will definitely bring foreign direct investment in retail. We will implement this in the next few days. We don't need to bring a bill in parliament for this because FDI in retail is a right that centre is giving to states," he said.

Digvijay Singh added that FDI in civil aviation will also be implemented soon and the government will bring the Pension Bill and the Land Acquisition Bill in the monsoon session of parliament, scheduled to start in July.

"We need to be firm and take bold decisions. You will see a lot of action in policy making in the next two years, before the 2014 general elections," he said.

The Congress leader's assertions assume significance in the wake of Banerjee suffering a setback in her campaign to stall the UPA's presidential nominee and comes at a time when Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav has come closer to the UPA-II, triggering speculation that he would save the government if Banerjee decides to quit the alliance.

Digvijay Singh also said that Banerjee's efforts to prop up A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for another term were futile as the former president himself was not interested in contesting the elections.

"Mamata is a riddle that no one is able to crack," he said.

To a specific query whether Mulayam Singh will enter the UPA government, the Congress leader said: "I am not the prime minister. So I can't answer this question. Only UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh can answer this question."

He also said that it was time the government took a firm stand on the issue of subsidies.

"Most people in the Congress are convinced that cash transfers should be given to the underprivileged for petroleum products, fertilizers and PDS foodgrains. But if we deregulate diesel and bring it to the market level, we have to ensure that farmers who run tractors and diesel pumps get it at a cheaper rate," he said.











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