Attacking the Congress-led UPA government on the issue of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail, BJP on Sunday said the party had opposed the measure when NDA was in power.
Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani said “leading” Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi in December 2002 had said bureaucrats were being pressurised by multi-national retailers even when a group of ministers and a task force of the Planning Commission on employment had rejected FDI in retail.
“Dasmunshi had said that through bureaucrats multi-national retailers are continuously putting pressure on the government to take this anti-national decision of allowing foreign direct investment in retail trade,” Mr. Advani said on his blog.
He said when Mr. Dashmunshi raised this issue in Parliament, then Commerce and Industry Minister Arun Shourie immediately stood up and said that as per the existing policy since 1997 foreign direct investment in retail trade is not permitted.
Mr. Advani also referred to the reported unrest brewing against America’s largest retailer Walmart in various US cities at a time when the government here was “rolling out the red carpet” for it.
Quoting author and financial expert S. Gurumurthy’s article, he said that on September 14 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rolled out the red carpet for Walmart, the same day “New York City shut Walmart out.”
He also referred to a web-based newspaper which carried a story on how Walmart displaced nearby small businesses the day FDI in retail was notified.
“Weeks ago, on June 30, over 10,000 people, shouting Walmart = Poverty, marched through Los Angeles against Walmart stores,” Mr. Advani said quoting Mr. Gurumurthy.
He also quoted a New York Times report on how Mexico has become the second largest country for Walmart after USA in terms of number of stores.