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Jaitley questions Mamata's Singapore visit over FDI

Kolkata: With defence minister Arun Jaitley questioning the inconsistency between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's opposition to FDI in defence and her trip to Singapore to seek foreign investment, state finance minister Amit Mitra on Sunday accused him of playing politics over the issue.

 Jaitley questions Mamatas Singapore visit over FDI

Arun Jaitley questioned Mamata Banerjee's Singapore visit for investments despite her opposition to FDI. AFP

Asking the 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 agreed except for two, the Left and 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... (that we will) allow FDI in defence where 51 percent stake will be in Indian hands," Jaitley told a meeting of BJP leaders and intellectuals in Kolkata.

"Both directly and indirectly, we purchase 72 percent 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.

Later in the evening, Amit Mitra, in a written reaction on the Trinamool Congress website, accused Jaitley of playing politics in the matter.

"Jaitley today questioned Banerjee's opposition to FDI in defence and her trip to Singapore to seek foreign investment. It is extremely sad that something like this came from Jaitley," he said.

In an apparent reference to the Singur controversy when 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 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.

PTI

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Updated Date: Aug 25, 2014 07:45:42 IST