Ralegan Siddhi: As he prepares to launch yet another anti-corruption agitation, Anna Hazare on Wednesday opened a new front against government, attacking it for allowing FDI in retail sector which he said was not in the country's interest.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the Parliament has been disrupted for the past seven days on the FDI issue and wondered why the government was not listening to the voices of opposition against it.

"Many states have opposed FDI and said that they will not allow such shops...in democracy, one has to take into account the wishes of people...People are against FDI," he said and asked, "so why insist on it?"

"Britishers came to India for trade but then ruled us for 250 years. You want to make us slaves once again? Are we inviting them to make us slaves again," he said.

Hazare, who was addressing media to reiterate his decision to relaunch his agitation from December 27 if a strong Lokpal bill is not passed in the ongoing Parliament session, contested government's argument that FDI was being allowed for the benefit of farmers.

"If the government were serious for the welfare of farmers, then why should suicides (by farmers) take place even after 65 years of independence. This is not the way," he said.

He said this was not the way to uplift farmers and if the government claims it was sensitive to them, why are farmer suicides continuing.  "They (foreign investors) will destroy our water resources, power and environment...they are not coming here for service." Emphasising that FDI in retail sector was not good for people, Hazare said the opposition to decision should be heard. "The Parliament did not run for seven days. I don't think it will function on the issue," he said.

Asked whether he felt that the government deliberately brought the FDI issue to scuttle Lokpal issue, he answered in the negative and said there should be a debate and people should know the pros and cons of the issue.

On the repeated disruptions caused in the Parliament, he said, "we have accepted democracy and elected our representatives. If they have some problem in understanding, whom should we blame?"

With regard to protests against him by NCP activists, Hazare was dismissive saying it was nothing new and that he had faced such opposition for nearly 25 years.

When referred to the comments of Swami Agnivesh, who was once his close associate, that he will not join Hazare's agitation, he said he has not invited anybody. "Whoever wants to save the country is free join the movement," he said.

Hazare said the draft report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee as a "betrayal" of countrymen. He also said he will tour the five poll-bound states and tell electorate how the government was betraying them on the Lokpal Bill.

"The government has assured us that there will be a strong Lokpal bill. We were given an assurance by the Parliament. Now the Standing Committee report is out. When I saw the report, I realised that they have again betrayed the countrymen again. Government has committed deceit," he said.

(Agencies)