New Delhi: UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday said Samajwadi Party has reservations over allowing FDI in retail before addressing farmers' issues.
"FDI in retail should not happen till the farmers and their products are protected," he said in an interaction with members of FICCI Ladies Organisation here.
With TV channels reporting that Akhilesh was contradicting his father Mulayam Singh Yadav's stand opposing FDI, senior party leader Ram Gopal Yadav pitched in to say the party was opposed to FDI in retail.
The UP chief minister said, \"If our manufacturing sector is not strong, finally this (FDI in retail) will damage our market\".
"Lakhs of families will be affected by this (FDI in retail) and even if government introduces this, we will not let it come into force in UP," he said.
Akhilesh Yadav pointed out that when some multi-national companies had opened fast food chains in the country it was said that the potatoes produced by Indian farmers will get a good buyer.
"But that did not happen. There are many such issues. My party and Netajji (Mulayam Singh Yadav)have said that as long as the interests of farmers and small shop-keepers are not protected, our opposition to it (FDI in retail) will continue," the Chief Minister said.
Yadav, who was accompanied by his wife and first time MP Dimple Yadav, said, "We are not opposing it. All states want that investment comes to them. We are not against FDI. We want that if FDI in retail comes, it should not damage the poor farmers.
"We have no objection to FDI.... FDI should come. Our reservations are only that the issues of farmers must be addressed. Our farmers and small traders should not lose," he said.
The UP chief minister said, "If our manufacturing sector is not strong, finally this (FDI in retail) will damage our market".
"Retail in FDI is a big issue. There is a need for discussion on whether FDI should come in retail or not," he said.
When pointed out that Samajawadi Party had a written a joint letter with JDS and Left parties to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opposing the move, the Chief Minister said he was also making the same point.