'SP leaders don't know English, can't indulge in lobbying': Mohan Singh
Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Mohan Singh on Monday said that none of the leaders of his party can ever indulge in lobbying with foreign companies for they do not know English, and added that the Indian Government must thoroughly investigate the lobbying disclosure report filed by Walmart.
"No leader in the Samajwadi Party knows English. So, it is the biggest proof that no leader of the Samajwadi Party can ever indulge in lobbying with foreign companies. It is about one's thinking, but it would not be appropriate to impose pressure on us in this regard. But the truth must come out before the people of the country," Singh told mediapersons outside Parliament here.
The Samajwadi Party leader, however, said the matter should be thoroughly investigated and the truth must be brought forward before the people of the country or else it will leave a very bad impression on the Indian politics and the leaders of various political outfits.
"The committee in America has given its findings that Walmart has spend so much amount of money for lobbying in America and India. It is known worldwide that whenever any foreign company begins its venture in a new country, it spends huge amount of money and lobbying is also their strategy. It is quite natural that they must have spent their money on India also," said Singh.
"The rough estimate I believe is very less and the Indian Government should initiate an inquiry as to the money spent by Walmart and the leaders and political parties involved in it," he added.
BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, who raised the issue in the Upper House, said the reports were a serious matter at a time when FDI in retail was cleared in both Houses of Parliament.
"At a time when floor management in the House to get FDI in retail passed is being talked about, reports of Walmart mentioning expenditure of 125 crores for lobbying to enter into the lucrative Indian market are a serious matter. The decision should be put on hold, inquiry should be ordered and the government should respond," he said.
Walmart has been lobbying with the US lawmakers since 2008 to facilitate its entry into the highly lucrative Indian market.
As per the lobbying disclosure reports filed by Walmart with the US Senate, the company has spent close to 25 million dollars (about Rs 125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to "enhanced market access for investment in India".
In the last quarter ended September 30, 2012 itself, the company spent USD 1.65 million (about Rs 10 crore) on various lobbying issues, which included "discussions related to FDI in India". During the quarter, Walmart lobbied for its case with the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, the US Trade.
The Congress-led UPA Government won a vote in both houses of Parliament on its decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment or FDI in retail.