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Mind your words, Left to Mulford

Mulford was not looking for an answer when he asked why Left parties opposed FDI, he got one, nevertheless.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2006 11:36 IST

US Ambassador David Mulford was not looking for an answer when he asked an interviewer why Left parties opposed FDI since it would benefit the "regular working people". He got one, nevertheless. And perhaps, not one to his liking.

CPM said what and how the Left responded to issues "was not really any of the Mulford's business", Forward Bloc said it was "ridiculous" for the ambassador to comment on the position Left parties take and the RSP questioned why Mulford was, well, "poking his nose".

This is the second time in a week that the US ambassador has courted controversy over his interview to an agency. Reports of the first interview suggesting that the Indian vote on the Iran nuclear issue and Indo-US nuclear cooperation were interlinked saw Mulford being summoned to the foreign office to lodge India's protest.

The second report quoted Mulford brushing aside the Left criticism on opening up of retail and liberalisation of FDI regime in banking and insurance. "Why does Left oppose it? Are they opposed to farmers and business guys and others getting credit developing their livelihoods and their businesses? I don't understand what their opposition is about because the beneficiaries are the regular working people of India," Mulford said in an interview to PTI.

CPM's Nilotpal Basu said the US ambassador clearly exceeded his brief. "The US government surely has not posted him to comment on positions of different political par ties in India…It really is none of Mulford's business," a piqued Basu said. "He should remember that we are not a banana republic".

Forward Bloc's Debabrata Biswas said the US envoy's comments were, "plainly put, ridiculous".

"We will be judged by the people, not him," Biswas said emphasising that Mulford had again crossed diplomatic norms and courtesies.

"Why is he unnecessarily raising points that have no value… poking his nose into issues that concern India. What India does in FDI, retail or otherwise, is really our problem," said Abani Roy of the Revolutionary Socialist Party. "We have our fears of the impact that FDI in retail will have, of the impact that it will have on employment but why should he be so interested".

First Published: Jan 30, 2006 11:36 IST