Congress on Sunday termed as “astonishing and misleading” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark suggesting that the UPA government compromised on the issue of food security at WTO and said it would raise the matter in Parliament on Monday.
“The statement of Modi, his claim of standing up for food security in the interest of farmers by taking up a stand in opposition to the one taken by the UPA government is misleading and given with the objective to confuse the people,” Congress leader and former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said.
Noting that Modi’s remark that India had disregarded the interest of farmers and the right to food security at Bali was “astonishing, factually incorrect and false”, he said it contradicted the statement made by the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry on August 5 and 6 in Parliament.
Sharma, who is the Deputy Leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha, said in a statement that when both the Houses are in session, it becomes a question of privilege of the members to know what is the truth.
“Which of the two is true?” Sharma asked, adding, “Whether what Modi is saying correct or the MoS is saying is correct. Congress will raise the issue on Monday.” The former Union Minister was reacting to the remarks of Modi made at the BJP national council meeting yesterday that “those who sought votes in the name of food security, signed the agreement (sacrificing the interest of poor people)”.
Modi had also said that the government “chose” to take a tough stand in the recent WTO talks as it has to protect the interest of the poor people of the country rather than to look for good publicity in the international media.
Sharma had signed the accord at Bali last year which, among other things, had agreed for signing the TFA by July 31, 2014. He further said, “It is embarrassing that the Prime Minister is confusing the right of public stock holding issue with sovereign right of food security. Food security is a sovereign right and a sovereign space and has never been a part of WTO agenda.”
“The Prime Minister of India is expected to be well informed and literate about the position taken by India in multilateral forums and the WTO. The Prime Minister has either been misinformed or has chosen to deliberately make a statement, which is incorrect and false,” he added.
“Prime Minister needs to be reminded that it was India’s strong and uncompromising stance that forced the issue of procurement of foodgrains for public stock holding and livelihood countries on the Bali WTO agenda despite stiff opposition from the US, European Union and other developed countries.”