DMK president M. Karunanidhi, one of the partners of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, called for the withdrawal of the decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail trade, arguing that the move was dangerous and would affect lakhs of small traders as well as poor and middle class consumers.

“It will also be a cause for economic decline of our country,” Mr Karunanidhi said in a statement on Monday.

He said the DMK had sounded a note of warning in this regard in Parliament and therefore the Centre's insistence that the States should go by the decision could not be justified.

Pointing out that his party had opposed the idea of FDI in retail trade when it was mooted, the DMK leader said compared to other countries, India would suffer much more if it was allowed.

“India will face a tsunami-like situation, which will badly affect the economy. Therefore, great caution has to be exercised,” he further said.

Mr. Karunanidhi, however, sought to differ from Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's view that the Centre had adopted an arrogant approach in not consulting the States. The announcement of the Central government could not be compared with Ms Jayalalithaa's announcement of steep increase in the price of milk and bus fare, which was done “without appreciating the sentiments of the public and without consulting anyone,” he added.

Mr. Karunanidhi said it was a matter of relief that Union Minister V. Narayanasamy's had clarified that the Centre would not compel the States to follow the decision of the Central government on FDI in retail trade.

“But without any insistence, if some States implement FDI retail trade, the tendency may spread to other States like fire. Therefore, the Centre should neither compel the States nor even suggest to them to implement FDI in retail trade,” he said.

Mr. Karunanidhi appealed to the Centre to take into consideration the views of the DMK, other political parties and small traders and withdrew its decision on allowing FDI in retail trade.

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