Govt firm to bring FDI in retail: Rahul Gandhi

Terming the opposition as "anti-farmer", Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Friday came out openly in support of FDI in the retail sector.

Updated: Dec 16, 2011, 22:09 PM IST

Farrukhabad/Kannauj: Notwithstanding the
move to bring FDI in retail being put on hold in the face of
stiff opposition, Rahul Gandhi on Friday asserted the Congress-led
UPA government was determined to bring the proposed
legislation in Parliament.

Addressing a series of meetings in Uttar Pradesh, he
said FDI in retail would be of immense help to farmers who
could save their produce from rotting by taking advantage of
cold storage chain that will come with FDI and get the right
price.
At a meeting in Farrukhabad, which is the largest potato
growing district in the country, Gandhi said 60 per cent of
vegetables go waste and FDI would provide a chance to the
farmers to directly sell their produce.

On the fourth day of his five-day mass contact programme
here, Rahul said "farmers are facing problems as 60 per cent
of vegetables go waste.. we brought FDI in retail so that they
could sell their produce directly".

But the opposition stalled the move in Parliament as
they are "anti-farmer", he said.

At another meeting in Kannauj, Rahul, Congress general
secretary, said while Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati
and all opposition parties dourly resisted FDI in retail, the
UPA government would certainly bring the legislation in
Parliament.

Rahul said when he on his way to Kannauj, some farmers
showed him how pigs were eating potatoes littered on the road.

"After a year`s hard work, farmers have to see this
situation", he said adding had FDI in retail been there the
farmers would not have seen such "bad days".

The FDI in retail move had to be put on the backburner in
the face of a united resistance from opposition parties and a
section of UPA.

Rahul said the UPA government wanted to bring FDI in
retail so that farmers getting the right price for their
produce and save the crops from rotting by making use of cold
storage chain and processing plants to be set up by foreign
companies.

Rahul said farmers have complained that the the market
price of potato is Rs 2 per kilo while the big companies sell
the potato chips at Rs 10 per packet.
The Congress MP from Amethi constituency said FDI in
retail will benefit farmers and not harm them in the long run.

Rahul said a measure of how big a well wisher of farmers
the Mayawati government in UP is can be had from the fact that
a vast tract of land stretching from Noida to Gorakhpur has
been allotted to private builders.

Those farmers who had opposed this had to suffer, he
added.

Sharpening his attack on Samajwadi Party on its
traditional stronghold, Rahul alleged that during the party`s
rule in UP criminals used to rule police stations and no case
used to be registered there.

The people then gave an oppurtunity to BSP which is "so
corrupt" that money meant for development schemes in the state
is being siphoned off, he allded.

Rahul said leaders of no other opposition party go to
villages and meet the people there but ridicule him when he,
along with his supporters, goes to meet them.

Rashid Masud, who recently quit SP and joined Congress,
said he changed party because his plea for reservation for
backward and poor Muslims was "rejected" by SP chief Mulayam
Singh Yadav.

Rahul said the Prime Minister would take a decision on
reservation for Muslims whenever he feels appropriate to do
so.

PTI