Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday took on Union Minister Kapil Sibal for "distorting" his stance on foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
"Sibal, participating in the parliamentary debate on FDI in retail trade has quoted Sitaram Yechury from an interview given to the Business Line. This is nothing but a gross distortion of facts. Mr Yechury did not give any interview to that or any other news house on the said dates," a media release from the CPI-M said.
"In fact what Mr Sibal was referring to was a news report that had appeared in the Business Line on May 16, 2004 with the caption, ´CPI(M) blames `bear cartel´ for Sensex crash - Opposes profit-making PSUs sale.
The Left party said that it was because of its consistent position for the past eight years that the decision to allow FDI in retail trade was not executed and the country´s economy was "saved from disastrous consequences".
Amid uproar, the government and the Opposition on Tuesday exchanged barbs as they debated on the FDI in multi-brand retail in Lok Sabha ahead of voting on the issue on Wednesday.
Defending government decision on FDI in multi-brand retail, Union Minister Kapil Sibal said it was not mandatory for all states to implement multi-brand retail.
"I do not understand the point of this discussion..If states do not want to implement FDI in retail then let them not do it. All these talks of Opposition are exaggerated," Sibal said.
He said: "It is not correct to say that foreign retailers will ruin country´s economy...Foreign retail shops permitted only in cities with more than 10 lakh population. I must say India has 53 such cities....We were told that Opposition ruled states did not want FDI in retail in those states. If you exclude these then only 18 cities will be left who can implement this policy."
Slamming the opposition parties, Sibal said: "How can the Opposition stop Chief Ministers who want to implement FDI in retail? Is it constitutional?"
He said debate on the issue is unnecessary as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised FDI in retail in its 2004 manifesto.
"The BJP should explain that why it changed its mind on FDI in retail in 2009 after supporting it in 2004," Sibal said.