Blaming the Prime Minister and the Congress for the present stalemate in Parliament, senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said on Sunday that unless BJP's demands for a debate and voting on FDI in retail were conceded, the protests will go on. “They had given a solemn assurance to Parliament on December 7, 2011, that they are suspending the decision to allow FDI in retail till a consensus is reached," Naidu, who was here to address election rallies, said.
But despite the assurances in both Houses of Parliament, government later went ahead unilaterally and notified the decision on FDI in retail trade, Naidu alleged. “We are not making it a prestige issue. We are keen that Parliament functions to take up people's issues,” he said.
Naidu said BJP wanted the government to explain and convince on two issues - ‘betrayal’ of Parliament and volte face on the issue of FDI in retail trade. Till such time the stalemate will continue and the Congress will be solely responsible for it, Naidu asserted. Naidu also pointed out that Congress had opposed FDI in retail during the NDA regime. “They raised questions in the Rajya Sabha. They wrote letters to ministers against it. They even went to the extent of calling the move as anti-national...How FDI in retail trade was anti-national then and pro-country now ? If it was a threat to our retail traders then, how will it protect their interests now ?” he asked.
He added: “We, as an Opposition party, have a responsibility to protect the interests of the people of the country.” “We are convinced that FDI in retail trade is not in the interest of the country as it will hurt the employment and displace crores of people,” Naidu said. It will also hurt the interests of farmers, he added. The order on FDI allows the MNCs to procure only 30% of goods from domestic market, thus undercutting the domestic producers, he said. The manufacturing sector will witness a major setback, he said. “We need FDI in strategic sectors like infrastructure whose development will result in large scale job opportunities which will empower the poor,” Naidu said.