Opposing FDI in retail tooth and nail, Left parties today asserted that their struggle against the UPA government on this issue will not end with a vote in Parliament but will spill over to the streets and continue till the policy is rolled back.
The Left parties were also critical of SP and BSP which have not made clear their stand on a vote against FDI in retail in both houses of Parliament, alleging that the government appears to have "arranged" votes through "wholesale trading".
Addressing a Convention Against FDI in Multi-brand Retail Trade, leaders of all four Left parties sought to put the Congress-led coalition on notice by asking it to "get ready" for another round of battle on the amendments to the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
"The issue does not end with vote in Parliament. All Opposition parties have opposed to the policy and even some UPA allies are not with the Congress on this issue," CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said as Lok Sabha will begin a discussion on FDI tomorrow.
"If all the parties which are opposed to FDI votes against the government then it means Parliament is against the policy," he said, warning that the battle would spill over to the streets.
Going a step ahead, CPI leader A B Bardhan said one has to wait and watch "how many people would be bought" by the government to win the vote in Parliament, while criticising the non-committal approach of SP and BSP "which oppose the FDI outside the Parliament" but are not clear on the vote.
"Let us see what Mulayam and Mayawati do. Mayawati says she is opposed to the policy and Mulayam even came to jail with us but only in Parliament we will be able to see what they do," he said.
CPI(M) MP Sitaram Yechury said, "They accepted for a vote after five days. They needed five days for arranging votes. If parties like SP, TDP and JD(S), who were with us on streets to protest, also vote against FDI, the government will be defeated," he said.
Bardhan also accused the government of "lying" to the Parliament on the FDI issue, saying that the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had told the House that the government would consult all parties before it proceeds on the issue.
"What do we expect from a government which lies to the Parliament? They said they will talk to everyone. Whom did they talk to? They must have spoken only to their family and evolved a consensus," he said.
Karat said the UPA did not implement the policy of allowing FDI in retail trade during 2004-2009 only because Left parties "were dead opposed" to it.
"Then reworked on the idea after the 2009 elections. There is another round of fight for the government on FEMA. This will not end in Parliament. The struggle will spill over to the streets," he said.
Karat also accused the government of winning the 2008 trust vote by "buying 19 MPs from Opposition camp".
Both Karat and Bardhan punched holes in the government's claims that one crore more people would get jobs if FDI is allowed in retail trade.
RSP chief Chandrachoodan also termed parties like SP and BSP as being "hypocritical" on the FDI issue and asked them to come clean on the vote.
Ecohing same sentiments, Forward Bloc chief Debabrata Biswas also asked the parties to spell out their stand on the issue publicly.