BJP leader LK Advani on Monday cited letters from traders' bodies to allege that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has opposed FDI in multi-brand retail when he was the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha in 2002 on the ground that it would destroy employment.
In his latest blog posting, Advani said Singh had written a letter to the Federation of Maharashtra Traders on December 21, 2002 stating that the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail had been raised in the Rajya Sabha two days earlier.
"The finance minister gave an assurance," Manmohan Singh said approvingly, 'that government had no proposal to invite Foreign Direct Investment in Retail Trade'," Advani said, quoting from the letter.
BJP has charged that Singh and Congress were strongly opposed to FDI in multi-brand retail but have now done a U-turn on the issue under US pressure.
Advani also quoted from another letter, written by CT Shanghvi, chairman of the Foreign Trade Committee of the Federation of Associations of Maharashtra to Singh to press home his allegation.
"Even before we made our detailed submissions, you had categorically stated that 'we should not permit Foreign Direct Investment in Retail Trade'. You had further mentioned that India does not require this kind of reform which would, rather than creating employment, destroy employment," the letter states.
Prime Minister Singh has come under direct attack of BJP on FDI in multi-brand retail issue. The main Opposition has alleged he is more concerned about the interest of multinationals like Walmart, maintaining that this company is not welcome even in some parts of the US.
"In view of the seriousness of this issue from the overall national angle, you (Singh) had raised the subject in the Rajya Sabha on December 18/19, 2002 and had obtained an assurance from the then Finance Minister that there was no proposal before the government for permitting FDI in retail trade," Advani said quoting from Shanghvi's letter to Singh.