A meeting of constituents of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) will be held soon to sort out differences over the policy on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail sector, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Sunday.

Emerging from a 90-minute-long meeting with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi here, the Union Minister, who is also general secretary of the Congress in charge of Tamil Nadu, told reporters that he had pointed out to the DMK leader that when the FDI policy was cleared by the Centre, there were apprehensions among State governments and political parties, including the DMK. Even at that point of time, the DMK leadership had raised objections.

In fact, it was on the demand by a number of parties, including the DMK, and the State governments that the Centre made an enabling provision that it would not enforce the decision on FDI in the retail sector on States which were against it, and the option was left to the States. He added that the Union government would not thrust FDI in retail on Tamil Nadu.

The DMK leader, according to Mr. Azad, had suggested that he would like to have one more meeting of like-minded parties, particularly allies. “I assured him that within a day or so, we will have another meeting of our allies so that they can express their views.”

He also pointed to a large number of States that did not have any reservation over allowing FDI in retail. “There are some States in northern and western parts of country that are very forthright in wanting FDI in the retail sector. If somebody else in the country is going to implement, why should we object. I think this aspect has to be discussed in our meeting of allies.”

Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president B.S.Gnanadesikan, former TNCC president K.V.Thangkabalu and DMK MP Kanimozhi were present at the meeting. Later, Mr Karunanidhi said: “Though Mr. Azad asked us to vote in support of the government on FDI in retail, we have not given any commitment. I told him to convene an allies’ meeting to discuss the issue. He has accepted the proposal.”