New Delhi: On Friday, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Ram Vilas Paswan said that foreign equity in retail will benefit farmers.
"I am in favour of FDI (foreign direct investment) because in this house there is tradition of having no debate on issues concerning the poor. Farmers today have no place to keep their produce; if FDI comes, it will help the farmers," Paswan said in the Rajya Sabha.
Paswan, who backed the government's stance, told the opposition not to behave like a "tortoise". "You take your head in the shell sometimes, and then take it out. Either be in favour of FDI or against it," he said.
"Which government does not want FDI? Every day in Bihar they say 'call the foreigners'. In Gujarat, they seek out foreign investors," he said. Bihar is governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal-United government while Gujarat is ruled by the BJP.
"The farmers are exploited all over. What is bought from him for Rs 5 is sold for Rs 50 in the mandi (market)," he said.
Paswan's support for the government was reciprocated when Kamal Nath urged Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien to give him more minutes from the time allotted to the Congress to continue his speech. The chair did not agree.
Taking another dig at the BJP, Paswan said, "You did not lose 2004 polls because of FDI, you lost it because of Gujarat (riots)".