Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday (2 November) targeted Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi for taking a dig at the Union government over the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal.
Responding to the Congress leader's attack, Goyal sought to know where was she when her government forced India to join RCEP negotiations with China. The Union Minister's reaction came after Gandhi had said that signing of RCEP will result in untold hardship for farmers, shopkeepers, and small enterprises.
Her remarks came at a time when Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi is on a three-day visit to Bangkok, where he is scheduled to attend the 16th ASEAN-India Summit on 3 November, and the 14th East Asia Summit and the Third RCEP Summit meeting on 4 November.
In a series of tweets, Goyal, Minister of Railways and Commerce and Industry, said that Sonia Gandhi has suddenly woken up to RCEP and free trade agreements (FTAs). Goyal asked where was she when her government (UPA government) opened 74 per cent of its market to ASEAN countries but richer countries like Indonesia opened only 50 per cent for India.
"Why did she not speak against giving larger concessions to richer countries?" Goyal asked. He also questioned, "Where was she - when trade deficit with RCEP nations increased from $7 Billion in 2004 to $78 Billion in 2014? - When her Government forced India to join RCEP negotiations with China in 2011-12?"
In his other tweet, Goyal questioned, "Sonia Gandhi Ji has suddenly woken up to RCEP and FTAs. So where was she - When FTA with ASEAN was signed in 2010? - When FTA with South Korea was signed in 2010? - When FTA with Malaysia was signed in 2011? - When FTA with Japan was signed in 2011?"
Furthering his tirade, Goyal asked, "Where was Sonia Ji when her Government agreed to explore an India-China FTA in 2007? I hope ex-PM Dr Manmohan Singh will speak up against this insult to him."
(With inputs from IANS)
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