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BJP fascist, No immediate FDI in retail, package for farmers: PM

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) Promising a new package for farmers and a review of the FDI proposal for the retail sector, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today hit back at the BJP dubbing it a fascist party which allowed ''shadowy organisations'' to interfere in governance.

Replying to the Lok Sabha debate on the motion of thanks on the President's Address, Dr Singh gave vent to his bitter feelings for the BJP for describing him as a Prime Minister who was in office, but not in power due to the dual power centres, the real one being managed by UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

''Every now and then, a question is raised about Prime Ministerial authority as if we live in some totalitarian system, in some fascist state, where authority has to be visibly asserted to command compliance.

''That may be the culture and outlook of those who keep raising this issue of authority. Sir, India is a proud democracy. Ours is Parliamentary democracy. There is Parliament. There is a Council of Ministers and there are other institutions of democratic governance.

There are political parties.

''The Prime Minister functions within a set of rules and a framework of governance. Maybe those who raise this issue are unaware of this framework. Maybe they think other parties function like theirs, allowing shadowy organisations to interfere in the work of elected governments. That has not been the culture of the Congress party,'' Dr Singh said.

Dr Singh had, on several occasions earlier, taken the Opposition to task for questioning his authority by pointing out that Mr Advani had to quit as BJP president after offending the RSS by giving a secular certificate to Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

He had also lampooned the BJP describing Mr Advani as present day Sardar Patel, stating that extremism and terrorism was on the rise when the BJP leader was Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the Home Ministry.

But this was the first time Dr Singh had come down so heavily on the Opposition for doubting his authority.

Giving details about the schemes for the farm sector, he said he had asked Agriculture Minister to prepare a package for addressing the problems of marginal farmers.

Further, Finance Minister P Chidambaram would address in next week's Budget the credit flow problems of small and marginal farmers faced with excessive indebtedness and dependence on moneylenders, he said.

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