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Opposition ire on Walmart lobbying rocks Parliament

Published: 12th December 2012 09:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th December 2012 09:10 AM   |  A+A-

Not impressed by the government’s offer to probe the charges of Walmart lobbying in India to gain entry into the country, Opposition members in the Lok Sabha pushed for a JPC or judicial inquiry into the issue.

The BJP indicated that the House wouldn’t be able to run smoothly unless the government announces a concrete probe into the matter.

Shailendra Kumar of the Samajwadi Party, which had bailed out the government during the vote on FDI-in-retail, pressed for a judicial probe. Lalu Prasad of RJD, which supported the government on FDI, demanded a JPC probe into Walmart’s disclosure as well.

Demanding an early response from the government, members from the BJP, Trinamool Congress, Left parties, AIADMK and JD (U) trooped into the Well forcing adjournment of the House for 30 minutes and later for the day.

CPM’s Basudeb Acharia sought a judicial probe, and said it should be tabled within one month. Trinamool’s Kalyan Banerjee, AIADMK’s M Thambidurai, JD-U’s Dinesh Chandra Yadav and CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta favoured a time-bound JPC probe, as the CBI “could not be relied upon”.

Familiar scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha where BJP’s M Venkaiah Naidu had asked for the suspension of Question Hour to discuss the matter. He finally got to raise the issue in Zero Hour, when he was also supported by SP’s Naresh Aggarwal. “Lobbying is practically bribery. So, we would like to know what happened in India and why this sort of thing has been reported to the US Senate,” Naidu said.

 “The money is spent on American law makers to pressurise India to take a particular decision of allowing FDI in India. It is questioning the sovereignty of the nation.... The government is succumbing to US pressure by acting like this,” he said.

V Maitreyan of AIADMK described the issue as “an assault on our sovereignty”.

CPM’s Sitaram Yechury said that his party was submitting a notice for short duration discussion on the issue of Walmart lobbying.

Speaking for the government, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath repeated the government’s offer to hold a probe. Earlier, at the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting, it was decided that the BJP would up the ante on the matter and raise the issue in the Lok Sabha as vigorously as it had in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

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