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Updated: September 25, 2012 09:55 IST

U.S. envoy meets Mamata

Shiv Sahay Singh
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US Ambassador to India, Nancy J Powell comes out after meeting with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata on Monday.
US Ambassador to India, Nancy J Powell comes out after meeting with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata on Monday.

Comes after Trinamool quit UPA opposing its reforms, including FDI in retail

U.S. Ambassador to India Nancy Powell met West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee at the State Secretariat here on Monday.

Though neither Ms. Banerjee nor Ms. Powell was forthcoming about the issues discussed by them, the meeting was considered significant, especially as it came hot on the heels of the Trinamool Congress withdrawing support to the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre following its opposition to reforms, including the entry of foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.

Hillary’s statement

During her visit to West Bengal in May this year, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said prior to a meeting with Ms. Banerjee that she would raise the matter of her country’s “desire to open [Indian] markets to multi-brand retail”.

However, after the meeting Ms. Banerjee had said that the issue of FDI in retail was not discussed with Ms. Clinton.

A Press release issued later by the office of Public Affairs, U.S. Consulate General, pointed out that among the issues discussed at the meeting was U.S. investment in West Bengal, including that in the retail sector.

‘Routine meeting’

As for her meeting with the U.S. Ambassador on Monday, Ms. Banerjee described it as “routine”, adding that diplomats call on her whenever they come to the city.

The leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), however, raised questions over the timing of the meeting.

“Those who had brought the Congress and the Trinamool Congress together will again try to unite then,” said Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra in an oblique reference to the U.S.

“All the decisions, be it FDI in multi-brand retail or disinvestment, are being taken at their [U.S.] behest. The Trinamool Congress has maintained good relations with the U.S.,” Dr. Mishra added.

Obama is the word

“Now the maa, maati, manush [mother, soil, people] government is saying Obama instead of maa,” said the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

The timing of the US envoys meeting with Didi should raise alarm bells . Are we a totally free , democratic country ? What was the need for this meeting ? What was discussed , the people should know - it is their right . Didi is only a representative elected by the people . Has she or Bengal been offered largesse by the US , jut to ensure she creates no more issues for the Congress to hinder the smooth entry of Walmart into India . Will DidI do a u- turn now and suport FDI in retail or atleast remain mum . Only time will tell . What is the USA doing meddling in Indias' internal politics ?

Posted on: Sep 26, 2012 at 10:15 IST

Would anyone have any doubt about the pressure foreign governments may be exerting on
the Manmohan Singh' government? What a shame!

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 17:40 IST

No wonder Hillary Clinton, now the Secretary of State of US, and a former Board of Directors of WalMart, is so keen on the FDI issue being amicably settled with the Indian so-called leadership. Jeez...these politicians are worse than the Corporate lobbyists these days...blatant circumvention of Democracy to suit the interest of big Corporates...

from:  prasanna
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 15:39 IST

I am suspecting if the wikileaks data about India may be authentic. There should be a systematic process from our political bosses to regain our Non-Aligned status. That would help protect India's wellbeing.

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 15:29 IST

Allowing the FDI means we are throwing the nation in foreign hands, the
good all come from china & US make the profit from these goods, is it
not dangerous.Already most of the trading market(Mobiles,electronic
goods,gaqrments etc...) is in their hands & now 60% market is going to
be handed in those hands. It is a very serious situation, once it will
allowed means we are going to cut our hands. Think seriously.......

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 15:18 IST

Our foreign diplomat meets the state governor of USA regularly. I do not think lobbying is bad. Our tribal behaviour of hating the every foreign person seems to be out of the place in today's world. Because East India Company looted us, we cannot stop interacting with world in this era. Our intellectual level should be high enough to compete against these people to bring prosperity to us. As far as I know, 60% of the goods to these retail stores cannot be supplied by any Indian company. If state agriculture committees allow our own corporate investments to let agriculture sector develop on competitive basis, than MNCs are not a threat. We need to throw our primitive attitude to adopt a new way of the internal competition. If our own people will not change to back meritocracy and Indian needs of reform, the foreign competition and goods will flood the Indian market whether retail sector is open or not.

from:  Ketan
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 15:04 IST

pathetic! I'm left wondering why the US envoy is discussing local
politics! another irony being the news posted next to the article where
the Indian UN envoy is advising foreign powers to "avoid unauthorised
intervention in internal affairs"!!!

from:  S.Ezhil
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 14:18 IST

I hope Mamata stays put on FDI and doesnt change her mind. FDI is really
to help the stumbling US economy and will do no good for the Indian
public. Yes, initially prices may come down but once they stack their godowns with the goods, the prices will soar and the outsider will take
all the profits. It would be like the 'outsider' buys gods from the
farmer for Rs 10 and stacks in his warehouse and then when the prices
touch 100 Rs, he sells for 90 thus making 80 as profit.

from:  Ramachandra
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 12:10 IST

What is the crap that USA is continuously forcing Indian to allow their
beloved Walmart so that they can foster their economy. FDI is promising
to offer one crore new jobs but what about 44 crore people engaging in
this business. Walmart scrap 50 % of retailers in Mexico with in only
ten years and what about Indonesia .........same was happened. Why UPA
is making it as their priority when country is facing so many other
basic problem of poverty, corruption, financial apartheid, pilferage at
every level, red tape so many problems.

from:  vipesh
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 11:56 IST

Is this acceptable in our country? Foreign diplomats discussing policy issues of OUR governments with allies just to further their own (home) political and businessman's issues. If didi bows now she would have proven she truly one of UPA's constituent - corrupt, politically expedient, selfish and unconcerned about the nation.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 10:36 IST

For ages foreigner have looted India. Before opening fdi in retail we should have law
that 60 % of the goods must be sourced from made in India else it will dumping ground
goods from china and all profit will be gone to USA companies .

from:  jay
Posted on: Sep 25, 2012 at 10:19 IST
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