Walmart 'lobbying' row: Lok Sabha adjourned till 2 p.m.

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 11, 2012 07:32 hrs

The Lok Sabha was adjourned till 2 p.m. today following uproar over reports of lobbying by Walmart to gain entry into India.

As soon as the house met for the day, BJP MPs stormed the well of the house and demanded the suspension of Question Hour to bring up the Walmart lobbying report.

The uproar continued even as speaker Meira Kumar made repeated appeals for allowing the Question Hour to continue.

As the din continued, the Speaker adjourned the House till noon and later till 2 p.m.

Meanwhile in the Rajya Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said that the government is open to discussion on the issue and said he could make a further statement on the issue.

"It is not as much a matter of concern for the Opposition as it is for the government and we are open to a discussion on the matter," Nath said.

Earlier talking to media, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said: "In the US lobbying may be legal, but in India it is not. We want an independent probe into the matter".

"This is very serious and important issue. Government should clarify this and there should be investigation by an independent body," he added.

Asserting that the Prime Minister should clarify on the issue, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said Walmart should not be allowed to open its shop in India till the investigation is complete.

Prasad, who is the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, earlier said that lobbying was not allowed in India, and added that Walmart indulged in bribery.

"It has been officially confirmed that Walmart Company has indulged in lobbying in India, or in simple terms indulged in bribery. Lobbying is not allowed in India as per law. We raised the issue in the debate in the parliament. Doubts are being raised in various fields, which is why we stated inside and outside the Parliament that this entire matter must be probed. Why was this lobbying allowed?" asked Prasad.

"Now the fact of lobbying cannot be denied because they have accepted this in the American Senate that they have lobbied in India and spent money on it," he added.

The media report had claimed that Walmart had lobbied with US lawmakers for the last four years to facilitate their entry into the Indian retail market.

It claimed that the company had spent 25 million dollars as per a report submitted in US senate. The amount is equivalent to Rs. 125 crore.

The lobbying by Wal-Mart in India disclosure comes just days after the Congress-led UPA Government won a vote in both houses of Parliament on its decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment or FDI in multi-brand retail. (ANI)

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