The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday played down the remark made by Shiromani Akali Dal leader and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on backing Foreign Direct Investment in retail if the United Progressive Alliance government addresses the concerns of traders.
Senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar said that Badal has only asked whether the farmers could get any benefit from the FDI move.
"He has only asked whether the farmers gain out of it (FDI in retail), and that we need to think and contemplate over it. We had said that an all-party meet should be called and that businessman and farmers should be briefed about the benefits and losses of FDI. But they (UPA government) have done nothing of that kind and imposed FDI. We are going to continue our fight against it," he said.
Kumar further said the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government has betrayed the common man, farmers, small retailers and the opposition parties with their move to allow FDI in retail.
"They (UPA) had said earlier in the all-party meeting that we would hold discussion on this issue with all the stakeholders, which would include the chief ministers of various states, different political parties, businessman and farmers' organisations," said Kumar.
"They have done this trick to cover up the coal scam. But the people are not going to forget them," he added.
Meanwhile, BJP national spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the media of presenting Badal's comments incorrectly. The BJP is making efforts to persuade Sukhbir Badal, who has been a minister in the NDA government at the Centre, to oppose FDI in retail.
"Sukhbir Singh Badal's statement is being projected wrongly. He has clarified that FDI in retail is not in favour of the farmers," he said.
According to reports, Badal's comment reflected that the Shiromani Akali Dal is slowly softening its stand towards FDI in retail.
The two senior BJP leaders were taking to media personnel on the sidelines of the party's national executive meeting, which began in Surajkund, Haryana.
The BJP and the Congress-led UPA government are presently at loggerheads over the decision to hike the diesel price, cap the supply of subsidised LPG cylinders to six per household and approve 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail.