Badal in damage-control mode, justifies FDI U-turn
A day after the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) made a U-turn, withdrawing support for FDI in retail, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said the change was not due to any pressure from coalition partner BJP.chandigarh Updated: Dec 02, 2011 23:52 IST
A day after the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) made a U-turn, withdrawing support for FDI in retail, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said the change was not due to any pressure from coalition partner BJP.
Talking to the media on the sidelines of a rally in Muktsar district, he said there were times when a stand had to be changed.
On Thursday, Badal said the SAD was not in favour of FDI. The comment undermined the position of deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal who wholeheartedly supported the Congress-led Centre on the issue.
“Punjab being an agrarian economy, we are delighted to hear that your government is taking this major initiative,” Sukhbir, and the chief ministerial candidate of the SAD-BJP combine, had written to Union minister Anand Sharma on November 24.
But on Thursday, Badal said the Akalis would back the stand of BJP, which has been opposing the FDI move.
Expressing ignorance about Sukhbir’s letter, Badal said the SAD core committee would take a final decision.
On Thursday, the committee decided that party leaders would not make statements on the issue, since it might prove costly in the upcoming polls.
Harcharan Bains, media adviser to the CM told HT, “We do not wear blinkers to shut out vibrant and dynamic public sentiments”.
Sukhbir, he said, has merely reiterated that the SAD cannot support any initiative that goes against the collective interests of farmers, traders, shopkeepers, producers and consumers. “But a rush to adopt a closed and unidimensional approach is not a sign of political maturity,” he added.
Former Punjab CM and state Congress chief Amarinder Singh said there was “nothing new” about Badals changing their position. “They did the same when there was a vote in Parliament on the Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008.”