The Indian government will soon take a “political call” on the contentious issue of FDI in multi-brand retail as it cannot wait indefinitely, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma has said.

Speaking to reporters here last evening, Mr Sharma, who is in London to attend the Global Investment Conference and meet senior ministers in the David Cameron government, said the government is seeking to arrive at a consensus not only among political parties but also among all stakeholders, such as farmers, SMEs and community groups.

“Most Chief Ministers support FDI in retail. There are particular reservations of the Left parties, who continue to have ideological blinkers. The principal opposition also has a partisan agenda, it changes sides when it suits them,” Mr Sharma said.

“It will be our political decision when to notify it ...

We can’t wait for unanimity, or we will wait forever. We have taken a decision, we are committed to it, we are trying to build a consensus until which it has been held in abeyance. It will be a political call,” he added.

The decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail was announced in November 2011. But its implementation was put on hold after a strong protest from various parties including key UPA-ally Trinamool Congress.

After that, the government has renewed its efforts to forge a consensus on the politically-sensitive issue.

As the UPA supporting Samajwadi Party also opposing the decision, the government would find it difficult to implement the decision.

Recently, JD-U President Sharad Yadav joined hands with Left and SP in opposing foreign direct investment in retail.

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