BSP extends support to government on FDI in retail

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Photo: Parliament screengrab

Just like in the Lok Sabha, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have come to government’s rescue on the issue of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail in the Rajya Sabha. Speaking in the upper house of Parliament during the debate on FDI in retail, BSP supremo Mayawati accused BJP misusing CBI. She was responding to Lok Sabha leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj’s speech on 5 December in which Swaraj had implied that a deal was stuck between BSP and the government, resulting into BSP walking out of the house and helping defeat the motion.

The motion in Rajya Sabha was introduced by V Maitreyan of AIADMK. He accused BSP and SP of bailing out the government in the Lok Sabha and highlighted speeches of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the year 2004 against FDI. Maiteryan was followed by Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley who warned that FDI in retail without any reforms in manufacturing sector will lead to loss of jobs. “The girls and boys of our nation will become sales girls and boys of the nation,” he said.

CPM MP Sitaram Yechury compared FDI in retail to the nuclear power policy and said that the government does not practice keeping its promises. He pointed out that out of the 1.36 billion employed by the Walmart only 1.2 percent were above the poverty line and also quoted international studies to say that farmers only get 3 percent rather than the promised 34 percent of the final product. He questioned the government on how a foreign entity can develop better infrastructure while the natives of the country weren’t able to do the same.

Former UPA ally and bitter opponent of FDI in retail Trinamool Congress was represented by MP Derek O’Brien reinstated that only Mamta Banerjee and Trinamool Congress were constant on their decision about the FDI. TMC had resigned from the government protesting the move. Tiruchi Siva of the DMK stated that he was against the FDI in retail but with the government when it came to voting. He also said that the BJP, who supported 100 percent FDI in 2004, did not have any credibility to oppose the government now.

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Yogendra P Trivedi of the NCP said that there was no negative impact of FDI when introduced in other sectors and questioned why it should be any different in retail. “This country doesn’t have any quality control where retail shops are concerned. FDI in retail will surely lead to quality control regulations in our country,” he said.

Referring to DMK MP Siva’s speech, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu pointed out that the government did not even consult with its own allies about the policy. He questioned how a minority government can take a decision about a policy as important as FDI in retail without consensus. He even accused the government of doing nothing in the last years for the country and of being in a deep slumber. Towards the end of the day SP made it clear that it will walk out of Rajya Sabha like it did in the other house, making it clear that the government is expected to win the motion when put to vote on 7 December.

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