Accusing Government of trying to divert attention from corruption issue with its decision on FDI in multi-brand retail, BJP on Saturday said all states in which the party is in power are unanimous in their opposition to the step and will intensify their protest against it.
The party also asked SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to immediately withdraw support to the government if they are opposed to the UPA’s policy decisions on diesel price hike and FDI in multi-brand retail.
BJP leader L.K. Advani said on his blog that the government is “gravely mistaken” if it feels that it can shift focus from corruption with its FDI decision and warned that it is committing “harakiri.”
“All BJP governments will oppose the decision of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail... This decision lacks vision. The government has completely ignored the Standing Committee recommendations which had opposed it and is challenging the Parliamentary institutions by taking this decision,” BJP spokesperson Jagat Prakash Nadda said.
BJP ruled states Gujarat, Karnataka and Jharkhand had earlier supported FDI in retail but backed out when the controversy erupted over the issue. Punjab, where BJP is a junior partner in the government led by ally SAD, was also initially in favour of FDI in multi-brand retail.
All NDA allies now appear to be agreement in opposing FDI in multi-brand retail. The small traders, who are likely to be affected if multinational brands like Walmart and Carrefour come to India, form a core votebank of the BJP.
BJP is in the process of chalking out a strategy for launching a nation-wide agitation against this decision.
“We will further intensify our agitation across the country,” Mr. Nadda said.
The party maintained that it is not anti-reforms but is opposed to blindly following any policy.
“We will vehemently oppose this FDI policy which will have an adverse impact on the Indian economy... This Cabinet decision is unfortunate and BJP condemns it. We were opposed to the idea from the very beginning,” Mr. Nadda said.
The BJP alleged that the big ticket reforms by the Centre was a ploy to deflect attention from ‘failure’ to contain the prise rise and corruption.
“It was a convenient step by the UPA government to deflect attention and criticism for failure to contain prise rise and corruption and so it acted in a hurried manner to allow FDI in various sectors, including multi-brand retail to follow with earlier decisions to hike diesel price and rationed LPG cylinders,” BJP national spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad told reporters in Pana.
It was also to shore up the Prime Minister’s image in foreign media which had attacked him for ‘policy paralysis’, Prasad said, adding that the decisions were taken under pressure from foreign companies and in their interests.