Against the backdrop of speculation about Narendra Modi’s comments suggesting a rethink on the FDI policy, BJP on Sunday said their opposition to FDI in retail will not change.
“As far as FDI in retail is concerned, the BJP hasgenuine 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 on a national news channel.
“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.
“That attitude (of stopping procurements) has to change,” he said, adding that one must start trusting people and putting systems in place when the government has confidence that it is doing things in a cleaner manner and not doing anything in a manner that is shady.
“If there is no collateral agenda that the government has, you cannot allow one of the most sensitive areas of India – security, particularly considering the environment that we live in to continue to suffer because there is no procurement taking place,” he said.
Jaitley also hoped that a situation like the former Army Chief V K Singh taking the government to court will not arise again.
“If the government is fair, is open, has the stature and the vision to resolve these issues in closed doors, I don’t think such a situation will ever arise again.”
Admitting that conventionally the party’s support amongst a particular minority community was a little less, he said the BJP will be second to none in making sure that it instills confidence in every section of society.
He said that it is in this context that BJP Chief Rajnath Singh made a “modest and a confidence instilling gesture” to Muslims at a recent gathering where he sought to apologise.
On Goods and Services Tax (GST), he said it was lack of confidence in the central government by states that was responsible for it not getting through and hoped this confidence will be rebuilt in the coming times if BJP comes to power.