In a debate moderated by TIMES NOW's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, panelists -- Dr Chandan Mitra, Editor-in-Chief, 'The Pioneer' & MP, RS, BJP and Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, MP, RS, Congress -- discuss the issue of Parliament discussing FDI in retail under a rule entailing voting, Oppn attacking Govt on FDI and wanting a rollback, and whether the UPA will be successful in shopping for numbers in time for tomorrow evening's (Dec 5) vote.
Slamming the Govt for allowing FDI in retail, Oppn today (Dec 4) asked it to withdraw the decision in national interest fearing it would render retailers jobless, impoverish farmers and hurt consumers. Initiating the debate on the issue, Leader of the Oppn, Sushma Swaraj, contended that PM Manmohan Singh, as Leader of the Oppn in RS in 2002, had opposed FDI in retail and questioned as to what has changed that the Govt is so determined to implement it. Swaraj maintained that the concept of large supermarkets has failed in Western economies and wondered how the Govt was claiming it would create jobs in India. She asserted that BJP was not opposed to FDI per se and as Leader of the Oppn she was willing to travel with the PM across the world to invite investments in other sectors like infrastructure. Singh was present when she spoke. Appealing to parties like SP and BSP to support the motion moved by her and Khagen Das (CPI-M) against 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, Swaraj said any defeat during vote will not bring down the Govt but will force it to rollback the decision on FDI. Swaraj said the decision to allow FDI in retail was not a step towards development but a leap into a ditch of "destruction." The much-talked about debate on FDI in retail in the LS today saw SP and BSP joining the Oppn in slamming the Govt over it but remaining ambivalent on voting tomorrow (Dec 5) even as UPA ally DMK vowed not to rock the boat despite its oppn to the move. DMK leader T K S Elangovan said his party was strongly against FDI but "we will still not vote against you.... we will not let you down. We will not join the Oppn, we will not join the BJP...We will watch you and correct you." On the Govt's behalf, Telecom Min Kapil Sibal accused the Oppn of trying to score political points by objecting to FDI in retail and asserted that the decision would benefit farmers, small scale industries, youth and consumers in the country.