Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday questioned the inconsistency between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's opposition to FDI in defence and her trip to Singapore to seek foreign investment.
Asking ruling Trinamool Congress to come clear on the issue of foreign direct investment, he said that on coming to power the NDA government took a decision to allow FDI in defence to which all parties agreed except for two - the Left and the Trinamool Congress. "After coming to power we took a decision that given our country's geographical features where you have China on one side and Pakistan on the other with insurgent groups and terrorism, where you need to fight them, we took a decision to allow FDI in defence where 51 per cent stakes will be in the Indian hands," Jaitley told a meeting of BJP leaders and intellectuals here.
"Both direct and indirect way we purchase 72 per cent of our defence equipment from foreign powers. It (FDI) will also help us become self-sufficient and generate employment. Most of the parties supported us, only two opposed. One is Left, whose opposition hardly matters because of their poor numbers," he said. The other party was Trinamool Congress, he said.
"I personally asked some of the TMC MPs why they opposed it. They told me that their policy is to oppose foreign investments. Then my question is if you are against foreign investment, why did you go to Singapore to attract foreign investment?" he wondered. Jaitley said, "They should have a clear policy. To win election they need foreign votes (Bangladeshi infiltrators) and if you take away those votes, the number of seats will come down."
In an apparent reference to the Singur controversy when Mamata Banerjee's anti-land acquisition movement led to the Tatas moving their car plant out of Bengal, Jaitley regretted that when there were prospects of industrial rejuvenation in Bengal, "pessimistic politics" forced the industry to move out. "When there were prospects of industry arriving here, you did politics to drive it out of Bengal. Now if you think that industrialists will come back to set up industries, then you have to admit that the matter is not so easy," he said without naming anyone.
The economic situation in Bengal was such that whatever the state earned from tax, most of it was spent on repaying loans. "It is because most of the governments here have followed such a policy. What is the use of such populism where you can't run the state and the country?" Jaitley wondered.