Sharad Yadav, CPM attack PM for I-Day address

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New Delhi, Aug 16: JD-U president Sharad Yadav on Thursday hit out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his Independence Day address blaming lack of political consensus for the slow growth and his promise to do everything to boost the economy through investments.

"Through his address the Prime Minister meant to say that the market is not opening up enough for investors due to lack of political consensus. I express my happiness that Congress does not have the full majority, otherwise they would have allowed FDI in the retail sector and destroyed more than 22 crore people, who are engaged in this sector," he said. Yadav, who is also NDA convenor, said the Prime Minister is 'mainly concerned with FDI in retail'.

"That he is concerned and sad about it is reflected from his statement. There has been only destruction in the last 20 years of open market (since liberalisation)," he said. Noting that the Prime Minister has used his Independence Day speech for stressing on foreign direct investment in the retail sector, Yadav made it clear that his party will oppose FDI in retail tooth and nail. He said there is "nothing new worth mentioning" in the Prime Minister's speech and that Singh has mentioned the "same problems as were mentioned by late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru 65 years ago".

CPI(M) also attacks PM

The CPI(M) also attacked the Prime Minister on Thursday for making "deceptive" statements in his Independence Day address, claiming that his government was not being restrained by "lack of political consensus" to push through neo-liberal policy measures. "Making the current economic slow down as the excuse, the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister are busy in pushing through a series of measures to help foreign and Indian capital and corporates and to help them circumvent taxes," senior party leader Sitaram Yechury said.

Quoting Singh as saying that an environment for rapid economic growth was not being created due to "a lack of political consensus", he said, "this is a deceptive statement. The Prime Minister and his government have been trying to push through neo-liberal measures by hook or crook."

In an editorial in the forthcoming issue of CPI(M) organ People's Democracy, he said, crucial issues like checking price rise, passage of Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation or the Food Security Bills had found no mention in the speech.

Taking on the Prime Minister for his statement on corruption and saying "good progress" had been achieved, he said while "massive corruption has become the hallmark of the UPA regime", the government "tried its best to get an ineffective Lokpal legislation adopted in Parliament" and Singh was "being disingenuous" in saying he was happy with the progress.

In the Rajya Sabha, "the amendments proposed to make the Lokpal more effective were sought to be scuttled. The Congress leadership has shown remarkable consistency in trying to protect those guilty of high level corruption," Yechury said. He referred to the Comptroller and Auditor General's report on coal block allocations which estimated that a loss of Rs 1.8 lakh crore was incurred in awarding these contracts.

PTI

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