‘PM told Walmart chief to convince Buddha on FDI'

New Delhi: The Prime Minister had asked the chief of American retail chain Walmart in 1995 to "convince" then West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee about allowing FDI in retail sector, which the latter opposed, a top CPI(M) leader said on Sunday.

"The Prime Minister had asked the Walmart chief to go and convince the West Bengal Chief Minister on allowing FDI in retail trade. Bhattacharjee had then explained the party's stand (opposition) on the issue", CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said here.

He said the Walmart chief had come to meet the Prime Minister in 1995 when the Left parties were supporting the UPA-I government from outside.

Responding to questions on the US diplomatic cables released recently by the WikiLeaks, he said Chief Ministers of the erstwhile Left-ruled states of West Bengal and Kerala had spoken about the party line on FDI during their interactions with American diplomats.

Indicating that the CPI(M) was not completely opposed to allowing FDI, he said the party did not want its entry into certain specific sectors like retail trade, mining and higher education. "In certain areas, FDI should not be there."

"FDI can be allowed keeping in mind that it improves our productive capacities, helps us in acquiring new technologies and generates employment. This stand of ours is part of our party programme", he said, adding that even the Parliamentary Standing Committee had opposed FDI entry in print media.

"Our leaders and chief ministers (with whom US diplomats had interacted) have spoken about the party stand on FDI," he said, adding that he would not go into the "interpretations" made by the US diplomats in the cables.

10 fishermen go missing Alibag: Ten fishermen remained missing after five fishing boats from the Raigad district sank in the turbulent sea, officials said here Sunday.

Six crew members of these boats, who were not found yesterday after the boats sank, today swam ashore, but ten others were yet to be traced.

Navy's Dornier aircraft and vessel 'Vipul' has been pressed into service for rescue operations, they said.