Rift in ruling alliance over FDI

Ready to discuss FDI at coordination panel meet: CM

Differences within the ruling Democratic Alliance partners in Maharashtra look likely to widen, this time over FDI. The signs became apparent on Thursday when Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said even though Maharashtra's approval for FDI was given after consultation with top NCP leaders, he was ready for talks on the issue in the co-ordination committee meeting. A day after Maharashtra NCP submitted a letter to him expressing reservations on FDI implementation in the state, Chavan said discussions had been held before sending state government approval.

"We wrote to the Central government after consultation with the NCP leadership. They have now expressed reservations. We will call a meeting of the co-ordination committee," said Chavan. Former Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar met the CM at his residence on Wednesday evening to express the party's view that the interest of farmers, small traders and minor retailers have to be safeguarded. Pawar sought a meeting of the state-level co-ordination committee at the earliest to discuss the issue. He handed over a party letter to the CM.

"This decision will have long-term impact on farming, labour and various sectors and should not lead to misunderstanding among communities.as far as Maharashtra is concerned, instead of taking a unilateral decision, the matter should be discussed with us and our opinion sought. A meeting in this regard should be called immediately. A request not to take unilateral decision without consulting us has been made," stated the NCP letter.

On Friday, NCP spokesman Nawab Malik reiterated the stand that the party supports FDI but clauses suggested by the cabinet should be introduced while implementing FDI in the state.

"We have several laws governing labourers, agriculture, market federations and co-operatives. These need to be considered while introducing FDI. We have sought a meeting to discuss these concerns," said Malik.

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