Kolkata: A motion moved by the ruling Trinamool Congress to protest FDI in multi-brand retail and hike in prices of diesel and fertiliser was passed in the West Bengal Assembly amidst walkout by the opposition Left Front.

Trinamool Congress has made history with the state assembly the first to pass a motion against FDI in retail, which she hoped other states would follow suit and jointly request the Centre to revoke the decision, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in the House.

The Trinamool Congress was raising the voice of entire nation, Banerjee said in support of the motion moved by the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee.

Citing examples, she said global retail chain Walmart was cautioned by the US government to procure at least 60 percent of the domestic product.

Banerjee said that her party had no other alternative but to withdraw its ministers and support from the UPA government because of the party's commitment and accountability to the people.

Banerjee said the party had moved a motion in the House in 2007 against FDI entry in retail which was opposed by the then ruling Left Front constituent CPI(M) and Congress and the LF was now staging a drama on the issue.

The opposition Congress was defeated by a massive margin, while LF walked out in protest against Speaker Biman Banerjee disallowing several amendments brought by the Leader of the Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra.

Congress members in the opposition bench stayed back after the LF walkout.

Banerjee criticised the CPI(M) saying that the proposal of 51 per cent FDI in civil aviation was passed by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Civil Aviation where a marxist leader was chairman.

Chatterjee said that entry of the FDI in retail, particularly in agricultural and consumer goods, would hurt farmers and small entrepreneurs.

Citing examples, Finance minister Amit Mitra said FDI in retail would not be beneficial in India, as it had not been successful in several other countries.

Instead of creating job opportunities, it would reduce employment altogether, he said, and added that even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "had once opposed it".

Describing the decision as anti-people and against the spirit of constitution, Government Chief Whip Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay said that this would be another blunder by the UPA government.

Speaking on the motion just before walkout, Leader of the Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra described it as "incomplete and non-transparent".

Mishra said that he brought in some amendments to the motion to make it comprehensive and complete. The Leader of the Opposition, however, supported the motion.

Mishra said that in 2002 Congress described a motion on FDI in the Lok Sabha as "anti-national" and could not be supported, but surprisingly the decision was reversed now by it.
CLP leader Md Sohrab expressed his views in favour of the FDI in retail, but a portion of his statement was expunged for misquoting the Trinamool Congress manifesto on FDI in retail.

Supporting the spirit of the motion, leader of the Democratic Socialist Party, an ally of the Left Front, Prabodh Chandra Sinha said that his party did not want foreign influence in the country's economy.

The Centre could do a lot by recovering black money from foreign banks and preventing recurrent scams.


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