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Mamata to attend UPA co-ordination committee meeting

By Renu Mittal
August 18, 2012 22:13 IST
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Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has agreed to attend the second meeting of the UPA co-ordination committee to be held on August 22, sources said.

The newly set up UPA co-ordination committee, which had its first meeting on the opening day of the monsoon session of Parliament, is all set to meet on August 22, to get down to the basic task of co-ordination with the allies on key issues.

The August 22 meeting is being held to work out a consensus on certain bills which the government is keen to bring dealing with reforms.

Primarily the focus will be on the FDI in retail issue, as well as forward trading, both of which are stuck since the Mamata Banerjee is not supportive and wants a rethink.

In the cabinet meeting held on Friday, Trinamool leader and Railway Minister Mukul Roy blocked the bill on forward trading by telling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the issue needs to be discussed "threadbare" before it can be approved. 

Sources said that the prime minister was not only devastated but also looked shaken by Roy's stand.

It was decided that senior Congress leader and Union Defence Minister A K Antony would visit Kolkatta and meet Mamta Banerjee and discuss these issues with her and ask for her support.

While Mamta did not say anything after the meeting with Antony, another senior Congress leader told the waiting media that the UPA is willing to walk the extra mile for West Bengal and would do everything to help Mamata Banerjee.

It is obvious that the Centre is willing to come forward to help the West Bengal chief minister and she is willing to grant some basic concessions in return for help for Bengal. However, Mamata has remained mum as of yet.

The Congress was also looking for its support for the post of vice chairman in the Rajya Sabha, election to which will be held on August 21.

The Congress worked on the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and asked them to unanimously support UPA's candidate P J Kurien rather than put up a candidate for the sake of it.

The monsoon session will resume on August 21 after a three-day Eid break but there is trouble likely in Parliament with the prime minister under the scanner in 'coalgate' scam.

The opposition is unlikely to allow the two Houses to function while the government will have its hands full in fire fighting the newly leveled charges of corruption.

Sources say that for the moment the focus is on economic reforms and FDI in retail is on top of the priority list even as a number of parties are opposed to it.

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Renu Mittal in New Delhi
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