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Cong notifies FDI and rally

While, the opposition-sponsored Bharat Bandh evoked a mixed response in the country on Thursday, it sent a strong signal to the Congress that the whole opposition, some allies of the United Progressive Alliance [UPAand some of its constituents have a real chance of getting together against some of the government policies. To counter such a strategy, the Congress has devised holding farmers' rallies in the Congress-ruled states to show that farmers support its decision to go foreign in seeking investment in retail.  

The first of such rally will be held in Haryana. The Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday met the Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to chalk out the strategy for organising the first such rally. It will be followed by similar rallies in 'farmer-intensive' Congress-ruled states of Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

Speaking after the meeting, Hooda said, 'Haryana has one of the largest population of farmers. If in our state farmers welcome FDI in retail, then why are other states also not doing so? FDI is very good for the nation. After the policy is implemented, marginal farmers will be able to sell their goods easily [at a good price]. It will also free farmers from the trap of the money-lenders.'

Hooda will organise a rally in the coming days, with the Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and the Maharashtra chief minister Prithiviraj Chavan following suit. Sources in the Congress said that the party was focused on implementing FDI and would take this mass-contact programme to the opposition-ruled states as well. They said that the states like Punjab had earlier supported FDI in retail but political compulsions of the ruling parties now made them change their position.

Meanwhile, the FDI in multi-brand retail was formally notified by the government on Thursday evening, making it clear that there was no way it would consider a roll-back. The notification was done a day ahead of the scheduled meeting of the ministers of the Trinamool Congress with Singh, where they are supposed to offer their resignation.
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