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Jaitley Attacks Mamata Over Trip to Singapore

Kolkata

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley today questioned the inconsistency between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's opposition to FDI in defence and her trip to Singapore to seek foreign investment.

Asking ruling Trinamool Congress to come clear on the issue of foreign direct investment, he said that on coming to power the NDA government took a decision to allow FDI in defence to which all parties agreed except for two - the Left and the Trinamool Congress.

"After coming to power we took a decision that given our country's geographical features where you have China on one side and Pakistan on the other with insurgent groups and terrorism, where you need to fight them, we took a decision to allow FDI in defence where 51 per cent stakes will be in the Indian hands," Jaitley told a meeting of BJP leaders and intellectuals here.

"Both direct and indirect way we purchase 72 per cent of our defence equipment from foreign powers. It (FDI) will also help us become self-sufficient and generate employment. Most of the parties supported us, only two opposed. One is Left, whose opposition hardly matters because of their poor numbers," he said.

The other party was Trinamool Congress, he said.

"I personally asked some of the TMC MPs why they opposed it. They told me that their policy is to oppose foreign investments. Then my question is if you are against foreign investment, why did you go to Singapore to attract foreign investment?" he wondered.

Jaitley said, "They should have a clear policy. To win election they need foreign votes (Bangladeshi infiltrators) and if you take away those votes, the number of seats will come down."

In an apparent reference to the Singur controversy when Mamata Banerjee's anti-land acquisition movement led to the Tatas moving their car plant out of Bengal, Jaitley regretted that when there were prospects of industrial rejuvenation in Bengal, "pessimistic politics" forced the industry to move out.

"When there were prospects of industry arriving here, you did politics to drive it out of Bengal. Now if you think that industrialists will come back to set up industries, then you have to admit that the matter is not so easy," he said without naming anyone.

The economic situation in Bengal was such that whatever the state earned from tax, most of it was spent on repaying loans.

"It is because most of the governments here have followed such a policy. What is the use of such populism where you can't run the state and the country?" Jaitley wondered.

Addressing the gathering attended also by the Bengal BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh, Jaitley expressed hope that the party will gain from the momentum it had achieved during the Lok Sabha polls as the Left had been totally rejected in that elections.

"Right now there is a huge opportunity for BJP to grow in Bengal. The people have totally rejected the Left and there is a growing anger against the present TMC regime. If you take out the votes which were snatched away in an unethical way (rigging,) then our strength in the Lok Sabha polls in Bengal would be much higher," Jaitley pointed out.

"People are now understanding that Trinamool can bring no change in Bengal. They follow the same policies of the Left where you loot votes to win elections. They can't bring any real change for development and progress," he said.

"Bengal is one of the three states which have very high fiscal deficit. Our main aim is to bring these states out of the debt trap. The money these states earn most of the money is gone away in debt servicing," he said.

"Both the Left and the Trinamool Congress are following the same economic planning. No country or state can run if it thinks that it will run the day to day activities of the country or state by taking loans. You will leave that debt on the next generation who have to pay more taxes. The Left did the same and Trianmool is just following it too," he said.

Jaitley said in order to grow in Bengal, the BJP state unit has to take up alternative policies in order to reach out to the people of the state.

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PLACES: Singapore
SECTION: National
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