|CWC backs reforms, Sonia slams BJP's negative role|
New Delhi, Sept 25 (IANS): The Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Tuesday backed the government's decisions on economic reforms saying they were necessary to lift a sagging economy and arrest the slide of the rupee. The CWC also lashed out at the BJP for playing a negative role.
Referring to the recent exit of the Trinamool Congress from the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Congress president Sonia Gandhi told the meeting there was no danger to the government.
The government's decisions to allow overseas investment in retail and aviation have created political turmoil in the country with key ally Trinamool Congress pulling out of the UPA and opposition parties demanding a rollback.
"The Congress president said it is necessary to improve the economy and the government has taken measures in that direction," party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters after the meeting here.
"The main opposition party (BJP) has played a negative role. It should play a more constructive role like the Congress has done in the past," Dwivedi said.
The meeting, presided over by party chairperson Sonia Gandhi, was attended by 30 members, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
Chidambaram briefed the CWC on the need for recent economic reforms and highlighted three steps that were required to pull the Indian economy out of a global economic slowdown.
According to Dwivedi, Chidambaram said more foreign investment was required to check a sliding rupee coupled with increased domestic production and a reduction in subsidies to shore up the economy.
"The finance minister was called to explain the current reforms. He said the government was worried over the falling value of the rupee and increasing inflation. Economic reforms were needed to ensure that the global economic crisis doesn't affect the Indian economy," said Dwivedi.
The recent decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail was taken in this context, he said.
According to sources, while most of the CWC members endorsed the economic reforms, some of them sounded a word of caution that the Congress should not deviate from its commitments on development and pro-poor programmes.
Sonia Gandhi also expressed concern over the communal violence in Assam in July that claimed 97 lives and placed 4.8 lakh people in relief camps.
While 21 out of the 30 CWC members present in the meeting spoke, six could not attend as they were not in Delhi. These include general secretaries Digvijaya Singh and Shakeel Ahmed and union minister Ambika Soni.
Among the two special invitees, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde could not attend the meeting. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was present at the meeting, said sources.