The much-talked about debate on FDI in retail in the Lok Sabha today saw SP and BSP joining the opposition in slamming the government over it but remaining ambivalent on voting tomorrow even as UPA ally DMK vowed not to rock the boat despite its opposition to the move.
Following is stand of the UPA allies, the opposition and the govt have said in today's Lok Sabha debate on FDI: Don't Force Suicide by Farmers by Implementing FDI: SP
Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav cautioned the Congress that the FDI decision would hurt its poll prospects and benefit the BJP.
Samajwadi Party, whose support is crucial for UPA, termed as "fraud" the government's contention that the FDI decision would lead to job creation and saw it as a "conspiracy" to finish off the 25 crore small traders in the country.
Yadav went to the extent of invoking Mahatma Gandhi in expressing opposition to FDI. He told Congress President Sonia Gandhi that she should give "weightage" at least to her surname and defer the move.
Earlier, Yadav rejected government's contention that FDI would lead to
growth and said if the Western countries like the US had not benefited
and seen job creation how could it be good for India.
In this context, he referred to a provision in the FDI policy to
implement it only in cities having a population of 10 lakhs or more. "If
you are really convinced that it is beneficial then why are you not
implementing it in the entire country," Yadav said.
He asked the government to do a rethink and not force suicides by farmers who depend only on agriculture.
Appealing to Sonia Gandhi to defer it, Yadav said if we realise later that it is beneficial we will support it.
He told Gandhi that polls were not far away and "clever" BJP and RSS
will exploit this issue through their wide base in villages.
"You will not benefit electorally from it. They (BJP) will come to
power. We will not come to power but we will give support to you or take
support from you," he said.
BSP leader Dara Singh Chauhan counselled the government not to rush with the implementation.of FDI.FDI in Retail an Insult to Mahatma Gandhi: BSP
Chauhan (BSP) said Congress ruled states had already decided to
implement FDI in retail and their experience should be assessed before
rolling it out in other states.
On the government contention that 20 lakh jobs will be created by
allowing FDI in retail, he questioned the basis for this assessment as
he alleged that there was a conspiracy to finish off small farmers and
"This figure is not authentic. How can we accept it will create more
jobs. I feel it will end employment, particularly of SC and ST," he
Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Chauhan said India was the land where he (Gandhi) promoted swadeshi and opposed foreign goods.
"This (FDI in retail) will be an insult to (Mahatma) Gandhi," the BSP
leader said alleging this was a conspiracy to enslave Indians once
Chauhan said his party will disclose tomorrow the way it will vote. "We are seriously thinking about whether to stand with the communal forces or not," he said.
Yadav too was silent on the voting issue even as he told the government, "The role of the Opposition is to give suggestions and we are doing that. We are suggesting that you give up the FDI decision," he said.Strongly Oppose FDI But Will Support Govt: DMK
DMK leader T K S Elangovan said his party was strongly against FDI but "we will still not vote against you.... We will not let you down. We will not join the Opposition, we will not join the BJP...We will watch you and correct you."
T K S Elangovan (DMK), key constituent of the UPA, said the DMK does not want to oppose the government or vote
against it because "we know that only the hand is injured and we do not
want to put you for a whole body scan."
"So, we have time. We are with you. We will watch you and we will
correct you as and when necessary because we have to face the people.
One or two things may be not in the interest of the people for which we
do not want to let you down. While registering my strong opposition to
the FDI in multi-brand retail, I also support the government," he said.
PM Had Opposed FDI as Leader of Oppn in 2002: BJP
Slamming the government, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj demanded withdrawal of the FDI decision in national interest fearing it would render retailers jobless, impoverish farmers and hurt consumers.
Initiating the debate on the issue, Swaraj contended that Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, as Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha in 2002, had
opposed FDI in retail and questioned as to what has changed that the
government is so determined to implement it.
Pressing for rollback of the "disastrous" FDI decision, she told the
government "hum aapko hara ke jeetna nahin
chahte, hum aapko mana ke jeetna chahte (We don't want the rollback by
defeating you. We want the rollback by convincing you)," she said.
In her nearly 90-minute speech, punctuated by repeated disruptions and
heated exchanges, Swaraj maintained that the concept of large
supermarkets has failed in Western economies and wondered how the
government was claiming it would create jobs in India.
She asserted that BJP was not opposed to FDI per se and as Leader of the
Opposition she was willing to travel with the Prime Minister across the
world to invite investments in other sectors like infrastructure. Singh
was present when she spoke.
Appealing to parties like SP and BSP to support the motion moved by her
and Khagen Das (CPI-M) against 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail,
Swaraj said any defeat during vote will not bring down the government
but will force it to rollback the decision on
"Your fear that the government will fall because of this vote is unfounded," she said turning to members of SP and
BSP, who have maintained ambiguity over their stand on voting.
60% LS Members Opposed FDI in Last Winter Session: CPI(M)
Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) said the Left parties have been opposing
FDI in retail and it was due to its efforts this policy could not be
He said in the last winter session 60 per cent of the members of the Lok
Sabha had demanded roll-back of the policy of FDI in multi-brand
"During 2001 to 2010, the employment growth was 0.8 per cent. In our
country there is growth in unemployment. They give one job and take away
17 jobs," Acharia said.
Oppn Trying to Score Political Points by Opposing FDI: Govt
On the government's behalf, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal accused the opposition of trying to score political points by objecting to FDI in retail and asserted that the decision would benefit farmers, small scale industries, youth and consumers in the country.
Justifying the FDI decision, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal attacked Swaraj and accused the BJP of doing a flip-flop on the issue.
He said when the NDA was is power, it had overruled the opinion of the Planning Commission to favour FDI in retail, which BJP had promised to roll out in its manifesto for the 2004 and 2009 elections.
Sibal asserted that the FDI decision would benefit farmers, small scale industries, youth and consumers in the country and charged BJP and Left parties with ignoring "ground reality" and helping commission agents.