Maur Mandi (Bhatinda): With BJP on Thursday expressing its strong opposition to FDI in multi-brand retail, its ally in Punjab Shiromani Akali Dal fell in line, saying it is "solidly behind" NDA on the issue and there was no difference between the two parties.

SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal had said two days ago that "if a consensus (on FDI in retail) can be built now, no one will have an objection. But a consensus over the issue in the entire country is a must", setting off perception that the party's stand was at variance with that of BJP.
But on Thursday, Sukhbir and his father Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal sought to present a united face on the issue while speaking to reporters at Mour Mandi in Bathinda district after addressing a public rally here.

They maintained there was no difference between the two alliance partners on this issue.

At BJP's National Council Meet at Surajkund in Haryana, the party on Thursday said it will take its fight against FDI in multi-brand retail to Parliament in the winter session as the party feels the policy will hurt small traders and is being brought under foreign pressure.

Sukhbir said on Thursday that he had been consistently saying that all stakeholders, including traders, farmers, unemployed youth and opposition parties besides alliance partners of UPA, should have been taken into confidence by the ruling party before taking a crucial decision that would have long- term impact on economic scenario of the country.

Without naming anyone, the Chief Minister said "two persons" at the Centre "have no right to decide the fate of the country".

"Even the British rulers, before passing small bills, used to consult the public on that to build a consensus and here two persons sitting in the central government have tried to mortgage the interests of 120 crore people to multinational companies," the Chief Minister alleged.

Badal Sr said "all tamasha (drama) of FDI was enacted with the sole purpose of diverting the attention of the public from scams including Coalgate. The electorate has now become mature and cannot be fooled with such tactics".

Badal claimed the fact is that "the anger against corruption has become a national movement and nobody can now distract attention of the public from multi-billion rupee scams".


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