FDI in retail will enslave India: Hazare

Ralegan Siddhi, November 30: Opposing FDI in the retail sector, activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday said the move would lead to enslavement of the countrymen and will not benefit the farmers as claimed by the government.

“If people are saying it (FDI) should not happen, why are you insisting? The British came to India to trade and for 150 years, ruled us, enslaved us. Do you want to have a repeat?” he told a press conference on Wednesday evening.

“They (the foreign investors) will spoil the water and the environment. The government should consider this,” he said.

On the claim that farmers will be benefited by FDI in retail, Hazare said, “If it were so, in the 65 years after independence, farmers would not have committed suicides.”

He said he favoured unanimity among political parties on the issue. “All parties should rise above narrow considerations. There should be no inter-party differences,” he said.

Expressing displeasure over the Centre’s purported refusal to introduce a ‘strong’ Lokpal bill in the Parliament, Hazare reiterated that he would launch a fresh agitation from December 27 in New Delhi.

“The government promised to pass a strong Lokpal bill during the winter session. But it seems the government is in no mood to keep the promise,” he said.

Challenging the sceptics who say that his influence is waning, Hazare said, “On December 27, the country will see how many people come onto roads. What a few people say does not matter.

“The Parliament will be in session till December 22. The Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) and Sonia Gandhi asked us to give them a chance. So we will wait till December 22. If by then the Jan Lokpal bill doesn’t come, our agitation will start.”

Hazare also announced that he and his associates would campaign against the government in the coming elections in five states. “We will tell voters that they (government) don’t want to curb the corruption.”

Referring to threats received by Team Anna, he said, “Some people warn us… it will be my good fortune to die for the country.”

The Lokpal issue should be discussed in detail, only then would people know the facts, he said. “We have accepted democracy and have faith in the Parliament,”.