Left parties on Monday demanded the withdrawal of the decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
They said that unless the order was taken back, their members would seek to raise the issue in Parliament just as they did by submitting notices for adjournment on Monday.
“There is no point in having a debate on FDI in retail when a decision has already been taken. So, the government should rescind the decision and then hold a discussion on it. If it does not, then it is clear that the government does not want Parliament to function when there are important issues like price rise, corruption and the Lokpal Bill to be debated,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) Rajya Sabha leader Sitaram Yechury said at a press conference addressed jointly by Left leaders.
The government had bypassed Parliament by taking an executive decision on a major policy issue when it was in session.
Communist Party of India Parliamentary Party leader Gurudas Dasgupta asked how the decision was taken when neither the Parliamentary panel nor the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) that went into it had recommended it.
Charging the government with not having done “due diligence” on the issue, he said the decision was a political call that disregarded the sensitivities of the Opposition on the controversial issue.
Mr. Dasgupta said the government did not contradict when he pointed out in Parliament in March that at least two-third of the respondents had reported negative to the IMC. A study of the working of retail giants, including in the United States, showed they did not benefit farmers.
The parties also took exception to the government's use of newspaper advertisement space to explain the FDI decision, than coming to Parliament and taking the sense of the House.
“We hold the government responsible for this. When they have to take the sense of the House, they are pushing out big advertisements in newspapers justifying the [FDI] move,” Mr. Yechury said.
Echoing the demand for a rollback of the decision, Barun Mukherjee (Forward Bloc) and Prashanta Majumdar (Revolutionary Socialist Party) said the move, which would lead to greater unemployment and worsen farmers' condition, had triggered protests and anger all across the country.