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Sharma mum on opposition to FDI in retail

Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma, who has been making efforts to forge a consensus on allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, on Monday refused to comment on the Left and Samajwadi Party opposing the move.

‘I have not seen any letter and I will not comment,’ he told reporters, when asked about Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav joining the Left parties in their opposition to the foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail.

The minister has been meeting and writing to several chief ministers seeking their support for implementing the Cabinet decision of November 2011, which was put on the backburner, following a strong opposition from UPA key ally Trinamool Congress and several chief ministers of non-Congress ruled states.

When asked whether he would start the consultations again, Sharma said, ‘I have talked to everyone.’

In a joint letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, SP chief Yadav, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy, Forward Bloc's Debabrata Biswas, JD-S' Danish Ali and RSP's Abani Roy had said that parties across the spectrum are opposed to opening FDI in the sector which employs about 40 million people.

Small traders and some political parties feel that opening of the global chains in the retail trade would harm the interest of the neighbourhood kirana stores.
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