“PM, Chidambaram, Montek only concerned about GDP growth”

With the face-off deepening between the government and Opposition parties on FDI in multi-brand retail, the diesel price hike and coal block allocations, Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav on Sunday hit out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“Unless the Manmohan Singh government takes corrective steps on these decisions, it will have to go,” he told journalists here. There was no way that FDI in retail and multinational retailer Walmart would be allowed to enter the country, he warned.

Drawing parallels with the imposition of Emergency in the country in 1975, he said the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi opened the locks on democracy by holding elections but “what Dr. Manmohan Singh is doing is trying to close the doors on employment opportunities for crores of Indians and this lock cannot be opened once FDI in multi-brand retail comes.”

Asserting that the proposed coordinated agitation by non-UPA parties on September 20 against the decisions would “culminate in the ouster of this government,” he said that not only UPA ally Trinamool Congress, but outside supporters like Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party were unlikely to back these measures that went against 90 per cent of small retailers, including vendors.

Echoing a few other States, the SP-led Uttar Pradesh government had declared that it would not allow FDI in multi-brand retail in the State.

Mr. Yadav said he was of the view that an elected government must complete the full term in a democracy but the Manmohan Singh government had “gone overboard” and “should not further exist.”

Appealing to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to get rid of Dr. Singh, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Ahluwalia, he alleged that they were “only concerned about GDP growth.”

He said the unorganised retail sector which included all types of vendors, accounted for more than 90 per cent of retail trade. It contributed about 14 per cent to the GDP and absorbed seven per cent of the labour force. Therefore, its displacement was the “most critical issue in the country.”

Opposing the diesel price hike, he demanded a complete rollback for the transporters ferrying essential commodities and farmers.

According to him, unless the government traded metals and mineral wealth of the country at advantageous rates, as is done by oil cartels, the country would always be burdened by oil imports at high rates.

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