New Delhi, Dec 6 : The FDI debate in Rajya Sabha began Thursday with the opposition slamming foreign investment in multi-brand retail, a day after the Congress-led UPA government won the vote in the Lok Sabha.

Here are the quotes :

Ashwani Kumar (Law Minister): "Permitting FDI in multi-brand retail is a national imperative... every segment of India's economy stands to gain by this policy. There are moments in the life of a nation when certain decisions have to be taken at a particular period of time. We should rise above partisan politics. This policy will determine the future of India

Arun Jaitley (BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha): "When we open our market to foreign retailers without reforms in manufacturing, what will happen? The first to be affected will be jobs in manufacturing sector. We (will) cease to be a manufacturing nation. We will be consumers and our children will be sales boys and sales girls. You can't touch the 272-mark in the Lok Sabha. The government cannot see 254 as a win. When you are 18 short of majority, you cannot run the government as you please. After that Lok Sabha figure, you are a lame duck government."

Mayawati (Bahujan Samaj Party chief) : "What is good but is that it is not compulsory for all states. We have also considered whether to stand with communal forces. There can be disruption in the coming days. Important bills are pending, the government will get the excuse to escape important issues. That's why looking at plus points, the BSP will vote in favour of the government."

V. Maitreyan (AIADMK leader): "The prime minister had opposed FDI when he was in the opposition, today he is (its) prime mover. The government can muster the numbers but I appeal to all political parties to vote ... and save the country. What is poison for Tamil Nadu can't be nectar for Andhra (Pradesh)."

Sitaram Yechury (Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader) : ""If this was to be of any benefit to the people and the economy, we would have supported it. But this is not. We had heard the same arguments at the time of the Indo-US nuclear deal ... That it would help in providing power to millions of households.

Naresh Agrawal (Samajwadi Party MP) : "The FDI will kill the farmers and destroy the livelihood of small traders. This is a black law (kaala kanoon) and should not be passed. The government must rethink this proposal. America will never want India to develop... it only loves the market here. Don't let another East India Company enter the country."

Tiruchi Siva (DMK MP) ""finds it essential that the government should go for its full term for the progressive measures it has been taking.. and we want to keep away communal forces.. but we very strongly support the government."

M. Venkaiah Naidu (BJP leader) : "Had you consulted political parties, this situation would not have arisen. A minority government can't take such a big decision and impose it on the people of this country. Today the situation in the parliament is such that no party except congress wants FDI in retail in the country including their ally."

Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena MP) : "Government is selling the country to foreigners like Wal-Mart. If Sukhdev, Bhagat Singh were alive, they would have bombed the people who are sitting here and for selling our country. Mayawati in the past stated that the FDI in retail was only to benefit Rahul Gandhi's friends; today she has started to support them.I want to know how many Italian traders will be allowed to come and set up their stores in India."


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