UPA govt lame duck, dependent on costly support: Jaitley
Expressing disappointment with the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party's decision to abstain from voting on the issue of Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail in the Lok Sabha, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, on Thursday said that the Congress-led UPA is a lame-duck government dependent on costly support.
"When you are 18 short of majority, then you cannot run the government as you please. You cannot touch the 272 mark in Lok Sabha -- you will need support and help. And whenever you need help, you have to compromise and pay a price," said Jaitley, while taking potshots at the government over its win on FDI vote in the Lok Sabha.
"The country is worried that with regards to investigative agencies and the government's work practices, we have seen the compromises for the past four years. After yesterday's vote, those worries have gone up. After that figure you are a lame duck government, and you are dependent on support which is costly," he added.
Taking on Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party for deviating from its stand on the FDI issue, Jaitley said: "Some people support you from the outside. They vote for you but are opposed to FDI."
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'I challenge Mr Sibal to get a store opened in Chandni Chowk'
Jaitley further said even the UPA ally, the Nationalist Congress Party, is opposed to FDI in retail.
"But even your own ally, the NCP, in Maharashtra, they do not want to implement it immediately. They want to discuss the matter in the alliance. As far as the DMK is concerned, they were part of the Bharat Bandh. Those who abstain, and by that support you, do not want this in their states," he added.
Jaitley also launched a frontal attack on Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal, who had made a point-by-point rebuttal of all the allegations levelled by BJP leader Sushma Swaraj during the debate on FDI in the Lok Sabha.
"I challenge Mr Sibal, who spoke for FDI, to get a store opened in his constituency (Chandni Chowk). Elections are round the corner and he will come to know what the people want," he said.
Jaitley also pointed out that every change is not a reform.
"Because some western countries define reform or economic progress as such, should we accept this? Can you as commerce minister tell US that their subsidies to their farmers were not economic reforms," he asked, while gesturing out to Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma.
"And to accept such reforms what is the context with relation to the Indian economy? What is the job structure in India? 51 per cent are self-employed, most in agriculture and next small retail traders, 40 million people directly employed, add families to that and the figure of four crore becomes 18-20 crore," he added.