Her retort comes after the Prime Minister said opposition to FDI in retail stemmed from ‘outdated ideologies’
Immediately after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lashed out at the critics of FDI in retail, saying their opposition was “constrained by outdated ideologies,” Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee hit back, claiming that she belonged to the grass roots and was “outdated.”
Her retort came after the Prime Minister made the remarks in his speech at the 85 annual general meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry here.
When journalists sought her reaction, the West Bengal Chief Minister said she was part of the grass roots. The masses were generally outdated. So was she.
Ms. Banerjee withdrew her party’s support to the UPA after the Manmohan Singh government decided to allow foreign players in the multi-brand retail sector. The Trinamool Congress moved a no-confidence motion against the government in the Lok Sabha and voted for a motion, moved later, for withdrawal of the policy. Both fell through.
Addressing the FICCI meeting, Ms. Banerjee made an impassioned appeal to India Inc. to invest in West Bengal, promising to go the extra mile to resolve its problems and create infrastructure. Raising the contentious issue of land acquisition, she said her government would give permission for purchase of land for opening industrial units. She promised to formulate a land acquisition policy after the Centre came up with its legislation, but vowed not to touch farmland. To highlight her intent, she said that a couple of days ago, her government cleared 14 petitions relating to land for industrial purposes. Urging industrialists to invest in tourism, deep-sea port, and tea, Ms. Banerjee assured them that there would be no disturbance in the State, which boasted power surplus and cheap labour.
The Chief Minister criticised the Centre for not bailing the State out of its financial problems stemming from its high debt. “Is it not the duty of the Centre to take care of [the State’s finances] when my hands are tied and [I] cannot take loan, and the RBI simply draws Rs. 26,000 crore from our account annually?”