New Delhi: With UPA constituents opposing the
government decision to open up retail sector to FDI, CPI(M)
on Thursday asked why Trinamool Congress could not stop the move
when the Left parties had prevented UPA-I from taking such a
decision while being an outside supporter.
"FDI in retail was announced by the UPA-I government in
its first budget in 2004. Why was this decision (to allow FDI
in retail) not taken by UPA-I? That government could not give
a go-ahead," CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters
"We were outside supporters and had pressurised the
government not to undertake this measure. But Trinamool
Congress is inside the government. If we could stop it, they
should explain how a member of the Union Cabinet is not able
to do so. That itself speaks volumes of what they say outside
and what they do inside," he said.
Yechury also alleged that the government committed "gross
impropriety" by deciding to open up retail sector to foreign
investment when Parliament was in session.
He quoted two instances in which the then Lok Sabha
Speakers had ruled that decisions or announcements outside
Parliament when it was in session amounted to "impropreity".
"It is noteworthy that in the past, it was the Congress
that seriously objected to the government announcing policy
decisions when the parliament was in session," he said.
In 1989, the current Home Minister, P Chidambaram, had
moved a privilege motion against then Prime Minister V P Singh
for announcing a decision to establish a paramilitary force
called National Rifles when Parliament was in session.
Though the privilege motion was not admitted, then
Speaker Rabi Rai had ruled that the government decision was a
breach of propriety, Yechury said.
Again in 1999, Congress MP Santosh Mohan Deb moved a
similar motion against then Prime Minister Atal Behari
Vajpayee, who announced the resignation of some cabinet
ministers outside the House when it was in session.
The then Speaker, GMC Balayogi, had also given a similar
ruling, Yechury said.
Attacking the government for taking a major policy
decision when Parliament was in session, he said it was
"completely contrary" to the spirit of parliamentary democracy
and the constitutional scheme of things and the Congress had
grossly violated this spirit.
He said instead of taking Parliament into confidence, the
Prime Minister chose to speak at a Youth Congress function to
justify the government`s decision.
"Clearly, this decision smacks of a commitment made by
Prime Minister Mahmohan Singh to US President Barack Obama
whom he recently met at Bali.
"Given the serious global economic crisis and double dip
recession, international finance capital is looking for new
avenues for its profits. The Indian retail market is a very
lucrative option for it. This decision will only permit
profit-maximisation for international capital at the expense
of the Indian people and Indian economy," Yechury said.
Senior CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia also asked why the
Prime Minister had "taken this as a prestige issue that the
government`s credibility will be lost if the majority demands
a rollback of the FDI decision."