No Wal-Mart lobbying in India: Cong

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 10, 2012 13:08 hrs

New Delhi, Dec 10 (IBNS) While Parliament witnessed uproarious scenes on Monday over the disclosure report filed by the Wal-Mart before US Senate which suggests that they spent $25 million in lobbying in India, the Congress party that spearheads the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rejects the allegation that politicians were bribed here.

"No lobbying took place in India," said Congress leader and Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs V Narayanasamy.

He said if there is any lobbying in USA, where it is legal, then they are not responsible for the same.

Congress said the report does not talk of any politician or question them.

Meanwhile, political opponents and even supporters of UPA were ballistic over the report and have demanded a statement of the Prime Minister over the issue.

BJP Rajya Sabha member Ravi Shankar Prasad raising the issue at Zero Hour said it (the money spent on lobbying in India) is bribe and it should be probed.

Prasad said lobbying is illegal in India and the government should explain who got the money.

The lobbying disclosure reports filed by Wal-Mart with the US Senate, suggests it has spent nearly $ 25 million , equivalent to Rs 125 crores, since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on "enhanced market access for investment in India".

Samajwadi Party said it is a serious issue and it should be probed but its leader Mohan Singh also came up with a bizzare explanation.

"There is no possibility of any Samajwadi Party man being lobbied by Wal-Mart. It is simply because none of our leaders can speak English," said Samajwadi Party leader Mohan Singh, trying to project that lobbying by US firms can only involve white collar and urban educated politicians.

While Singh said the truth must come out, his bizarre explanation to keep Samajwadi Party, which indirectly helped the UPA government win the FDI vote on multi-brand retail, out of the taint, left everyone surprised and amused.

Left Front and Trinamool Congress also attacked the government over the report of Wal-Mart inside Rajya Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice over the ruckus.

The ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government last week won an FDI in multi brand retail vote in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, clearing the final hurled in allowing the Wal-Mart and other such companies to enter Indian market and hold majority stake.

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