Kolkata: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Murli Manohar Joshi has said he is ready to engage Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a debate on the government`s new retail policy.
Joshi told media here that the government cannot prove that the new policy, which seeks to source agrarian produce straight from farmers and eliminate middlemen, could benefit those working in the agrarian sector.
"I am ready to enter into a debate with the Commerce Minister (Anand Sharma), the Finance Minister (P Chidambaram) and the Prime Minister (Dr Manmohan Singh), if they can prove that farmers all over the world get better prices from multinational companies. If that is so, then why are American farmers given USD 70 to 80 billion dollars of subsidy every year," he said.
Joshi warned that the government is setting a dangerous precedent by giving some states the choice of not implementing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector.
"Once the company is in India, it can go and trade anywhere. If you impose this condition, and any company goes to the Supreme Court, it will be struck down in half-an-hour. This is a very dangerous precedent, because it means that if the Central Government has announced a policy, then the states are free to implement it, or not to implement it," Joshi said.
Joshi`s opinion was echoed by BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu, who accused the Congress-led UPA-II Government of ruining the Indian economy.
"It is because of your mismanagement of the economy, your wrong priorities, and then, policy paralysis; that this situation has arisen. From a robust and resilient economy, you have brought it to a roasted economy," Naidu said.
The government is facing intense pressure from the opposition over a slew of reforms that it announced last month.
It has also lost the support of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC), which has withdrawn its support over the move to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, a cap on the number of LPG gas and diesel price hike.