The BJP says the government's decision to approve Foreign Direct Investment or FDI in multi-brand retail and other sectors was aimed at diverting attention from the charges of graft in coal block allocations.
The party's spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said in New Delhi today, "The timing of this decision is important as it came to divert attention from the scams."
Senior BJP leader LK Advani wrote in his blog, "That on a day when the Supreme Court put six pertinent questions to the government about this coal scandal, the government should have decided to announce FDI in multi-brand retail may be regarded by some as a desperate bid to shift the focus of debate from corruption to 'reforms'. If the government really thinks (it can succeed), it is gravely mistaken." Read blog
"The judiciary, the CAG and the opposition, together with the media, have ensured that the corruption issue continues to dominate the people's mind until the next Lok Sabha elections.The FDI in retail may actually prove for UPA nothing other than harakiri," Mr Advani wrote.
The BJP also says the "hurried" decision was taken under pressure from foreign elements. "You've got FDI in retail to please the Foreign media and foreign investors. FDI in retail has been opened to gain brownie points as PM was recently criticised foreign media," Mr Prasad said.
Long feted for his pivotal role in liberalising the Indian economy, Dr Singh has recently received several less than flattering report cards from international publications like Time magazine and the Washington Post.
Yesterday, the government said it was opening up its supermarket sector to foreign chains and would allow more foreign investment in airlines and broadcasters. It also approved the sale of stakes in four state-run industries.Those moves came a day after the government announced a steep increase in the heavily subsidised price of diesel, setting up a showdown with the opposition as well as allies within the ruling Congress party coalition, who demand a rollback of the retail and fuel price decisions.
The government says its policy initiatives such as the hike in diesel prices were aimed at reining in a widening fiscal deficit and reviving investor sentiment.
(With inputs from Agencies)