Alleging the Opposition of spreading misinformation and indulging in “fear-mongering”, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on Friday made it clear that the government had consulted all stakeholders before formulating a proposal for 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
Sharma, replying to the 34 speakers who spoke for the motion against the FDI in retail moved by the AIADMK and other parties, said the decision to bring forward such a proposal was made after holding 18 months of consultation with various farmers’ associations, confederations and states.
Sharma also said he had met chief ministers to ascertain their opinion on the proposal.
“I have met 14 chief ministers in their respective states,” he said naming Parkash Singh Badal (Punjab), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Nitish Kumar (Bihar)… “We even wrote to them elaborating on the issue, to which most had replied,” he added.
Sharma said he had written to the two Leaders of Opposition of the two Houses, to which BJP leader Arun Jaitley replied they had consistently opposed the policy.
Meanwhile, BJP member M Venkaiah Naidu said consultation did not only mean writing a letter.
However, Sharma continued, noting that there had been opposition from some quarters, like CPM leader Prakash Karat and the Trinamool Congress. “That is fine. But, how can you deny the FDI to those who want it?” he asked.
Sharma pointed out that it was not always right to debate in Parliament any decision made by the executive.