Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday demanded a referendum on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail.

“We all know how politicians behaved inside Parliament during the debate on FDI in retail. The issue should be brought under a referendum. The issue was not even debated properly,” he said here on Saturday.

Mr. Kejriwal was here to address one of the plenary sessions on the ‘Future of Clean Politics in India,’ organised during the PAN-IIT conference.

“The Central government was able to win votes in both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha two days back on the issue of FDI in retail because it used the Central Bureau of Investigation to force some of the politicians to vote accordingly,” the social activist-turned-politician alleged.

He said:

“I don’t understand how FDI can help our farmers. The Central government is trying to justify its action by claiming that FDI will eliminate middlemen and that would help farmers but the fact is, the companies will act as middlemen, so farmers and common people will suffer more.

“The government is claiming that Walmart will build cold-storage units for the benefit of farmers, but can we believe their claims — the government itself failed to do so in the last 65 years so how can foreign companies do that in a few years. I don’t think that Walmart is coming to India for social work.”

On West Bengal politics he said: “People in the State can decide if they are experiencing any change or not after the new government took charge.”

Describing his party’s role, he said: “We stepped into politics to empower the ‘common man.’ We will create an environment so that people with good intentions will participate in politics, which is the only way to clean up the mess in politics.”

Politics used to be a noble profession during the Freedom movement. Now the culture had changed. People were using it with bad . “Politics is social service. So it’s the intent and the people that make politics bad or good. We are trying to change the present scenario.”

The AAP had 30 teams to study issues such terrorism, poverty and industries and the plan was draft a document that would be released in March 2013 to address them in a detailed manner, he said.

More In: National | News