New Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS) Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma Friday strongly refuted the opposition's charge that the government had not consulted political parties and state governments before giving the go ahead to foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha in the debate on FDI in retail, Sharma said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had been "talking to everyone, farmers, traders, consumers, states". The government also held inter ministerial consultations on the issue, heard the recommendations and then took the decision, he said.
"I have met 14 chief ministers, not in New Delhi, but have gone to states.. I met Parkash Singh Badal, met Naveen Patnaik, Mamata Banerjee, Nitish kumar.. We even wrote to the chief ministers on the issue."
Sharma said he also wrote to the leaders of the parties in the two houses. "Most of the chief ministers replied to my letter," he said. Then, looking at BJP leaders in the house, he added: "Please ask your state leaders to answer my letters."
To this, BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu got up and said angrily: "Consultation does not mean writing a letter."
Sharma said 21 states had sent their opinions on FDI and "many said they want it".
He said CPI-M leader Prakash Karat and the Trinamool Congress had told him they could not support FDI. "That is fine, but those who want it, how can you deny them."