PM meets allies as Houses adjourn for eighth day amid FDI din

Both houses of Parliament were adjourned again without transacting any business today, the eighth consecutive day since the winter session began, over the issue of foreign direct capital in retail.

In a rather desperate bid to clear the logjam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a meeting with key allies of the ruling United Progressive Alliance at his 7, Race Course residence; but by all reports it proved inconclusive.

The meeting was attended by Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference, Sudeep Bandhopadhya of the Trinamool Congress, T R Balu of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), and E Ahmed and Anand Sharma of the Congress.

Both the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the DMK have joined the opposition in its stand against FDI in multi-brand retail and the removal of FDI caps on single-brand retail, although the National Conference has supported the move.

During the meeting, the TMC and the DMK reportedly showed no signs of relenting on their stand demanding a reversal of the decision. Holding its cards close to the chest, the DMK said that it will make clear its stand if and when the issue entails a voting in Parliament.

Meanwhile finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, top troubleshooter for the Congress, continued his efforts to mollify the opposition parties. He was in touch with senior Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday as well as today, after an all-party meeting convened to discuss the issue on Tuesday failed to make headway.