New Delhi, Nov 25: A political storm erupted today over Government's decision to open up retail to FDI as key ally Trinamool Congress and almost all opposition parties including BJP and Left came together to attack the plan as “lopsided” and “unprecedented” harming small businesses.
Upping the ante on the retail reform plan, BJP leader Uma Bharti threatened to set on fire Walmart store wherever it opens in the country to register her party's protest. The threat was roundly condemned by CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta as “crazy talk.”
There was some cause for cheer for the Congress-led coalition UPA as it got support from the Shiromani Akali Dal, a partner in the BJP-led NDA, which is ruling Punjab. The SAD said FDI in retail will offer tremendous benefits to farmers and the people of Punjab, the country's food granary.
Trinamool leader and Union Minister Sudip Bandopadhyay while opposing the decision said the party would carry out its protest in its “own style” as directed by party supremo Mamata Banerje without breaking any alliance norm.
BJP saw the move as a disaster for traders which, it alleged, will also trigger unemployment. “FDI is not required in retail sector. Cold storage facility is not rocket science that you need FDI for it,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar said.
Another BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said this strategy of the government cannot be an economic model for India and indicated states in which the party is in power may thwart any move by companies like Walmart to set up shop.
“Allowing FDI in retail is a lopsided decision,” he said. Left parties, staunch opponents of the FDI in the retail sector, termed the move as “unprecedented” and said the government should have discussed it first in Parliament before taking the decision.
“It is unprecedented...,” CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and JD(U) leader said he opposed the FDI decision “tooth and nail” as it will ruin the retailers and will lead to a point of unemployment “beyond imagination in the country.” The Samajwadi and BSP also opposed the decision, PTI