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Congress faces opposition from allies over crucial decisions

Tuesday December 13, 2011 10:41:04 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Already battling opposition attacks over the price rise and its handling of corruption scandals, the Congress-led government has been buffeted by some of its own allies on key policy decisions including foreign equity in multi-brand retail and the food security bill.

While Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's firm opposition forced the government to suspend its decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Tuesday expressed apprehensions over the mounting subsidy related to the food security bill, leading the cabinet to defer a decision on the food security bill.

The bill is part of the election promise of Congress and has been keenly pursued by National Advisory Council headed by Sonia Gandhi.

Official sources said Pawar, who heads the Nationalist Congress Party, has raised the issue of high subsidy involved in implementing the right to food legislation.

They said Pawar has written to the food ministry expressing concern that the subsidy may go up to Rs 1.2 lakh crore once the right to food in enacted.

The food security bill has been in the works for almost 18 months and there is apprehension among Congress leaders that a delay in bringing the ambitious legislation will lead to criticism about the party not being sincere in fulfulling the promises made in its election manifesto.

With Banerjee opposed to opening multi-brand retail to foreign equity, Congress leaders say there is no timeline for the government reviving the decision.

The Trinamool Congress has also been a vocal critic of the government over the rise in prices of petroleum products.






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