Asserting that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail would push the country towards economic slavery, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Rajnath Singh on Tuesday urged Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to oppose this move and take a decision keeping in mind the national interest.
"As far as the observations drawn from the various countries where these multi-nationals are operating, I can say that FDI in retail will push the country towards economic slavery. So, I would appeal to all the political parties and in particular the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party to be with the opposition on the FDI issue," said Singh.
"This (FDI in retail) should be opposed. And if the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party boycott this, it will give a clear indication that they want to bail out the Congress-led UPA II Government ," he added.
To a poser on whether the government was moving towards manipulation to get the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party on board on the FDI issue, Singh said 'the record of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party till date has not been good because they have so far had their alliances with the Congress'.
"But the issue of FDI in retail is linked to national interest and it should not be seen from the point of political gain or loss. The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party should take a decision on the FDI issue keeping in mind the national interest," he added.
The BJP leaders further justified the opposition's move to FDI in retail .
"FDI in retail will not only lead to unemployment for traders, the farmers will also suffer because of this. Moreover, the manufacturing sector will also be destroyed because if companies like Wal-Mart enter the Indian markets it will become a dumping ground for the Chinese goods. So, the entire opposition should unitedly oppose the FDI in retail," he added.
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja on his part said the Congress-led UPA Government has a history of manipulating things.
"Last time when we were supporting the UPA I Government from outside, we withdrew our support. At that point of time, there was a confidence vote, cash for vote scam took place. The government is known for manipulations. Let us exactly see what is going to happen," he added.
Asserting that the BJP motion for debate under rule 184 would not succeed in its aim in the Lok Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath earlier today said that the main opposition party is indulging in destructive politics in the name of FDI.
He, however, reiterated that the UPA Government was confident of its numbers in the Lok Sabha.
The debate will begin in the Lok Sabha at 2 p.m. today. Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, will be initiating the debate on the FDI issue on behalf of the BJP. The motion will be put to vote in the Lok Sabha tomorrow.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has so far firmly opposed the FDI decision. The Left parties, the AIADMK, Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and some other political parties have also made their intent known to vote against the government.
The government is keeping a close eye on the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party to win a vote in the Rajya Sabha. The two outfits are not part of the ruling coalition, but provide external support.
Both parties have, however, so far kept their cards close to their chest.
The Rajya Sabha will begin debating on the FDI issue on Thursday and will vote on Friday. (ANI)