New Delhi: Congress on Monday reacted sharply to BJP's veiled "threat" to foreign investors in retail issue alleging it amounted to "verbal lumpenism" and a "dictatorial mindset".

"The language that the BJP has employed to threaten foreign investors is condemnable, very regrettabale and tantamounts to verbal lumpenism.

"To say that governments will change in states after recent elections and new government may cancel decisions taken by the Centre on FDI is against the spirit of democratic polity....this indicates their dictatorial mindset of my way or highway," party spokesperson Manish Tewari said.

The Congress spokesperson said that while the Oppostion has a right to disagree with the decisions taken by the ruling dispensation, BJP does not have the right to threaten.

BJP leader Yashwant Sinha had on Sunday said the implementation of the decision on FDI in multi-brand retail is to be decided by states.

"We are going to have elections in Rajasthan and Delhi. An efficient company like Walmart has said it will take 18 months to come to India. What if the government changes? What is the certainty the new governments will continue the policy on FDI? I guess investors will remember this," Sinha had said.     

Slamming the remarks, Tewari said the government of the day has has a right to take policy decisions.

Tewari also utilized the reported statement of BJP leader and NDA government's former Commerce Minister Arun Shourie favouring FDI and took a dig at L K Advani for his remarks in the blog saying Shourie had opposed FDI.

"What Advani forgot to mention was that on May 14, 2002, a note was moved by the then Ministry of Commerce and Industries favouring 100 FDI in multi-brand retail," he said accusing BJP of "same double speak, same chicanery" even on Indo-US nuclear deal.

Reminding that it was BJP, which was going full steam for the Next Step in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) with the US, Tewari said it had started opposing the nuclear deal "because the grapes turned sour".

He said the Opposition party is playing out the same story on FDI in retail now after once having supported it.

"Swinging from sublime to ridiculous every step has been the habit of BJP. It had one yardstick when it was in the government and the other almost 180 degree turn when it came in the Opposition," Tewari said.

Replying to a question, the Congress spokesperson the note of then Commerce Minister Arun Shourie in 2002 clearly brings out the intent of the government on FDI in retail.

"BJP may have some idelogical or opportunistic differences with the government's decisions. The government decided that it can be debated but BJP has got into a habit of running away from debates.

"It is unfortunate that in last three years, the principal opposition party has made it a habit to engage in politics of lie, fraudulence and rumour-mongering. I do hope that the people of the country see through their double-speak", Tewari said.

He said had BJP been confident even on the coal blocks allocation issue, it would have agreed for a discussion.

"We are ready to discuss any issue with the Opposition party, be it coal issue or FDI. But this offer will also go unresponded by BJP," Tewari said.

(Agencies)

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