The Minister accused the BJP of doing a U-turn on FDI in retail

Charging the Bharatiya Janata Party with doing a U-turn on the issue of allowing 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Saturday said he would reveal in Parliament the names of the States that supported the opening up of the retail sector for foreign investment.

“Let Parliament begin a debate on the issue. When MPs ask this question we will set the record straight. The BJP has made a 360-degree turn on this particular issue,” he told reporters after a meeting with a farmers' delegation from Haryana.

“We have letters from States. There are letters which the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has; there are letters which the Standing Committee of Parliament has. Parliament will get to know whatever documents we have. We will place it before MPs,” he said.

However, BJP vice-president Shanta Kumar has since rebutted the charge that the BJP governments in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh were in favour of FDI in multi-brand retail, which is dominated by small kirana shops.

“An attempt was made to spread the wrong impression that Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh gave their support to FDI in multi-brand retail. I have talked to the Chief Ministers of both the States and they said this is not true,” Mr. Kumar said on Friday.

While the Centre respected the right of States which were not in favour of FDI in retail, these could not deprive States that were in favour of it, Mr. Sharma said. It was unprecedented that executive decisions were being questioned. “We are a Constitutional democracy and this should not have happened. We have done this after consultations and are trying to arrive at an understanding…a consensus.”

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