Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Gurudas Dasgupta on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of being ready to sacrifice his government to allow multinational retail companies like Wal-Mart and Carrefour to enter the country to do business.
Speaking during the two-day debate on foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail under Rule 184 in the Lok Sabha, for which voting is expected around 6 p.m., Dasgupta claimed that the UPA Government wanted to send out a signal to MNCs that India is a favoured destination for foreign investment.
"The government believes economic situation of the country is grim. And it believes FDI will rescue the Indian economy from the crisis," claimed the veteran CPI leader.
However, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Jayant Chaudhary backed FDI in retail, saying farmers need an alternative.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel said: "We had sent back Coca Cola. But it was allowed back in. The company acquired Parle's Thums Up and tried to replace it with Coke. But Thums Up is still more popular in India than Coca Cola."
"It is a two-way market. Even India businesses are taking over foreign companies. It will not affect the small businessman. The small retailer should be protected," Patel added.
"Why are you not opposing malls? Because your leaders are constructing malls, Patel says pointing at the Opposition.
Shiv Sena MP Anant Geete said his party would strongly oppose FDI in multi-brand retail.
Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab said his party would not and cannot legitimise what will mean death for the small retailer.
Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav said that the UPA Government has made only a handful of people prosperous, and added that FDI in retail would not benefit India.
Urging the government to withdraw FDI in retail, Yadav said if this was not done, the country would suffer and the people will punish the government.
Yadav equated the debate on FDI to the debate on the Indo-US nuclear deal. He accused the government of being concerned only about the market and not the country.
CPI (M) leader Basudeb Acharya said his party would welcome FDI only if it increases productivity and cause a jump in unemployment.
He urged the government to rethink on the issue. (ANI)