Pointing out that all the political parties, with the sole exception of the Congress, were opposed to the entry of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the retail sector, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat said here on Sunday that the decision was rushed through due to the growing criticism of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the West.
“Dr. Manmohan Singh is more sensitive to pressures and criticism from outside … What is said in Washington and London is more important to the Prime Minister than the interests of the people in this country,” Mr. Karat told journalists, adding that one of the issues on which the Prime Minister was being criticised was FDI in retail.
On Coalgate, he said the Left parties had already called for a probe to investigate the Prime Minister’s role in allocation of coal blocks.
“Today if he and his government think they can get away with such anti-national, anti-people policies, he is mistaken,” Mr. Karat said, adding that eight political parties have called a countrywide protest on September 20 and that in the coming days the protests against these measures would be intensified.
He termed the Centre’s decision to leave the implementation of FDI in retail to the States as “ridiculous.”
“This is the first time we are hearing this great concern for the States’ rights by this government … Suddenly they are saying, ‘We are not imposing it, it depends on the States’.”
He pointed out that only the Congress-ruled States had accepted the Centre’s decision so far.
Mr. Karat said the Left would continue the struggle to ensure that “not a single Walmart supermarket or Tesco or any other MNC sets up shop in any of these States.”
He was also critical of the recent diesel price hike and the decision to restrict the number of subsidised LPG cylinders.
The Congress-led government’s claim that the oil companies were making losses was false, he alleged and said there was need to revise the taxation structure to lessen the burden on the people.