BJP national executive meet begins, Gadkari says party is pro-reforms
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In an apparent attempt to ensure that its opposition to FDI in retail does not adversely affect its pro-reform credentials, the BJP today asserted that it is not against reforms.
"BJP is not opposed to reforms. In fact, the BJP is proud of its record on governance, reforms and pro-people policies during the NDA regime," party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad quoted BJP chief Nitin Gadkari as having told the party's national executive on Wednesday.
Gadkari also sought to reject the ruling Congress's attempts at projecting the BJP as anti-reforms, blaming the Congress for delaying economic reforms instead. "The parliamentary standing committee on finance headed by Yashwant Sinha has cleared 11 financial legislations. How many of that has the Congress got passed? But they want to blame BJP (for stalling reforms)?" Gadkari was reported have told the meeting.
Sources said Gadkari told the executive members that the BJP was still ready to cooperate on crucial reform measures, if the government sincerely sought its cooperation. He, however, lamented that the ruling Congress never tried to take BJP into confidence and provided step-motherly treatment to BJP-ruled states.
Interestingly, Gadkari only made a passing mention of the government's decision on FDI in retail in his speech on Wednesday. Sources said he only raised the issue once, saying that it was a diversionary tactic of the Congress to shift the focus away from corruption.
Several party members admitted that Gadkari had spoken "less than expected" on the issue. However, they sought to stress that the issue will be raised during the next two days and asserted the BJP's opposition to FDI in retail.
Prasad indicated that the BJP may even scrap the policy if it comes to power. "The party is opposed to FDI in multi-brand retail and once we come to power, the consequences will follow," he said.
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