BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi Wednesday said that the government expedited its decision to allow FDI in retail after P. Chidambaram became the finance minister, and added that FDI would hit farmers, small traders and people seeking employment.
Participating in the Lok Sabha debate on the motion against allowing FDI in multi-brand retail, Joshi said the origins of the government's move on FDI lay in Chidambaram's remarks at a meeting abroad in 1996 that the foreign investors would get "huge rewards" on their investment in India.
Chidambaram assumed charge as the finance minister in August.
"As soon as he came, it was superfast (decision) in retail," Joshi said.
He admitted that a document of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had talked about FDI in retail, but said that the BJP had opposed any such move in its 2009 election manifesto.
Joshi said a Congress leader had described FDI in retail as "anti-national".
"How did your description of it (FDI) being anti-national became national?" Joshi asked, speaking in the Lok Sabha.
The BJP leader said foreign multi-nationals coming to the country after the decision on FDI would resort to monopolistic practices.
Joshi rejected claims that 35 to 40 percent of fruit and vegetable production was wasted due to inadequate storage facilities and cited reports to assert that losses for various crops were broadly in the range of five to seven percent.
He also disagreed with claims that farmers would get better prices for their produce.
Joshi took potshots at Communications Minister Kapil Sibal and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma over their defence on the FDI decision.
"It will hit workers, small traders, youth. Take a decision in the interest of the country," he said, and added that FDI would impact coming generations.
"If you want your neck to be chopped, it's your decision. But do not do that to the country. Do not kill the small trader," he said.
Indo-Asian News Service