Wal-Mart lobbying: SP's bizarre defence

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 11, 2012 02:37 hrs

New Delhi: 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, Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav came out with a bizarre explanation to claim that they were not beneficiaries of the money the US firm splurged in India for gaining entry in the market.

"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.

Earlier in Parliament, BJP member Ravi Shankar Prasad 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".

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned over the ruckus.

The Left parties also demanded an independent probe into it.

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

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.

More from Sify: