FDI debate: Gurudas Dasgupta slams PM

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 05, 2012 14:11 hrs

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Gurudas Dasgupta on Wednesday slammed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a debate in the Lok Sabha on the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail issue and said he was ready to sacrifice the government for retail giant Wal-Mart.

"For the cause of Wal-Mart, the Prime Minister is even ready to sacrifice his government," Dasgupta said.

"The government believes economic situation of the country is grim. And it believes FDI will rescue the Indian economy from the crisis," he said.

The Lok Sabha, which will vote on the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail on Wednesday, debated the matter for the second day with lawmakers like Janata Dal (United) Sharad Yadav attacking the government sharply for imposing the decision on people.

"Roll back FDI in multi-brand retail, or else we will roll back the government," Yadav said debating the issue.

He said if they had wanted the government to fall they would have backed Trinamoo´s no-confidence motion.

He said the government wants Wal-Mart in India for the few who prospered owing to the government since the MNCs are not coming to help or serve the people.

"I am not averse to market forces, but is this the way," he said.

Basudeb Acharya of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said they would not allow Wal-Mart easily in India and would take the battle to streets from Parliament.

"Neither consumers, nor farmers would benefit," he said.

The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meanwhile said the government was confident of winning the vote on FDI in retail.

"Why would we have a debate if we were not confident?" he said.

However, lawmakers like Praful Patel, who represents Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), said FDI would do good to India and all the panic reactions are uncalled for.

"Our farmers and traders and labourers are all geared up to take up global challenges," he said.

He said local markets would not be hurt by FDI in retail and globalization would not kill industry.

The voting is expected to take place after 6pm.

A heated debate on this issue took place in the lower House on Tuesday. The government says it is confident of a win. However, it´s allies Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are still keeping it guessing on which way they will vote.

SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Tuesday opposed FDI in multi-brand retail while the government and the Opposition exchanged barbs debating the issue in the Lok Sabha ahead of voting on the issue on Wednesday.

"As far as FDI in retail is concerned, it is not good for the country. It is not going to benefit the farmers of the country," Yadav said.

"Small traders will not be able to compete with the big retailers. This is going to lead to unemployment," he said.

"We advise the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government to drop plans of implementing FDI in retail," Yadav said.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Saugata Roy opposed the FDI in multi-brand retail and said: "The TMC had shown moral courage by opposing the FDI in retail. When we moved the no-confidence motion against the government on this issue, no one stood with us at that time."

The relationship between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee´s TMC and the UPA touched its lowest point when it withdrew support to the latter over its recent economic reforms, including FDI in multi-brand retail, hike in diesel price and cap on subsidy in LPG cylinders.

TMC with 19 MPs was UPA´s second biggest constituent and the biggest ally of the Congress party which spearheads the government.

Defending government decision on FDI in multi-brand retail, Union Minister Kapil Sibal said it was not mandatory for all states to implement multi-brand retail.

"I do not understand the point of this discussion..If states do not want to implement FDI in retail then let them not do it. All these talks of Opposition are exaggerated," Sibal said.

Opposing FDI in multi brand retail, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should fight for the poor and country and not for multinationals who would deal a body blow to small traders.

"Fight for the poor and not for the rich. Fight for the country and not for multinationals," said Swaraj at a heated debate on FDI.

While Congress led UPA would bail itself out in Lok Sabha, in Rajya Sabha it stands a crucial test since the Congress lacks adequate numbers in the upper house.

The FDI debate under Rule 168, which entails voting, is set to take place in the Rajya Sabha on Dec 6 and 7.

The support of Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and her rival Mulayam Singh Yadav´s Samajwadi Party are crucial for the government in Rajya Sabha.

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