New Delhi: Accusing BJP of U-turn over its stand on FDI in retail, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said on Saturday the government will place before Parliament records showing which of the states have supported opening of the sector to foreign investment.
“Let Parliament start the debate. When MPs ask this question we will set the record straight… BJP has made a 360 degree turn on this particular issue,” he told reporters after meeting a farmers’ delegation from Haryana.
Sharma said, “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 and whatever documents we have… we will place it before MPs.”
BJP Vice-President Shanta Kumar has since rebutted the charges that Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh were in favour of foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, which is dominated by small kirana shops.
“Yesterday, 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,” Kumar said yesterday.
Sharma said while the Centre respects the right of the states which do not want the FDI in retail, but those “states who do not want it, cannot deprive those states who want it”.
He said it was “unprecedented” that executive decisions are being questioned. “We are a Constitutional democracy and this should not have happened… We have done it after consultations… trying to generate an understanding a consensus,” he said.
The minister said farmers have welcomed it and they want the government to stand firm, “because they feel it is in their interest”. He said they also raised problems relating to high-cost of diesel and fertiliser and the Prime Minister would be apprised of these issues.