Millennium Post

No change in BJP’s stand on FDI in retail, says Jaitley

Against the backdrop of speculation about Narendra Modi’s comments suggesting a rethink on the FDI policy, BJP on Sunday their opposition to FDI in retail will not change.

‘As far as FDI in retail is concerned, the BJP has genuine concerns against this and I don’t think, it is quite likely, that policy is going to be changed,’ Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley told Karan Thapar on his Devil’s Advocate programme on CNN-IBN.

‘As far as present is concerned, I think it is quite unlikely that the BJP will change,’ he said noting that for the present, that door is closed as no policy is a policy for the next 100 years.

Addressing a traders conference here on Thursday, Modi had asked the trading community not to run away from global challenges but adapt itself to modern practices like tying up with bigger stores and online trading, without referring to FDI in retail.

Jaitley admitted that the BJP was consciously trying to woo the Muslim community ahead of elections and said the party ‘will go full length’ to implement its three underlined convictions of security, equality and economic progress towards them.

‘There is nothing wrong in it. It’s a good sign for India. It’s a good sign for BJP. It’s a good sign for the minority community members.... We are...Everybody has evolved... It’s an appeal being made,’ he said admitting that the BJP was making an effort to reach out to the community.

He said as far as Muslims were concerned, BJP is not a party that will go on the track of vote bank politics and have religion-based reservation for Muslims.

On Pakistan, Jaitley said talks and terror cannot co-exist and BJP’s desire to talk will not outweigh the other surrounding circumstances.’ 

Jaitley said the attitude of BJP towards Pakistan if they come to power will be the same as it was during the NDA regime under Atal Behari Vajpayee.

‘This whole passion and desire that you continue to have dialogue at the highest level irrespective of what the response of Pakistan is. If you have Pakistan’s attitude which is not responsive, it is not necessary that the heads of government meet,’ he said.

‘It will be calibrated, it will be less emotional and it will be more realistic. If the situation is such that Pakistan wants a serious dialogue, the environment for the dialogue doesn’t have to be created by India. It has to be created by them,’ the BJP leader said.

Jaitley said it is not NDA or UPA and not India which has to make sure how Pakistan conducts itself and a lot in India and Pakistan relationship depends on the internal environment in Pakistan.

‘If Pakistan is less radicalised and it doesn’t allow these kind of elements to really dominate the relationship between India and Pakistan, I’m sure the relationship will progress,’ he said.

On the recent Navy accident, he attacked Defence Minister A K Antony for stopping procurements and turning the situation in the forces to a crisis level and promised to reverse it, if BJP came to power.

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