Trinamool jumps on Opposition bandwagon, while Akali Dal backs move

Cabinet clearance for Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail led to tumult and uproar in Parliament, with both Houses adjourning without transacting any business for the third successive day on Friday.

Going by the Opposition's hostile reaction, there is a question mark over smooth conduct of proceedings when Parliament meets on Monday.

Communist Party of India Parliamentary Party leader Gurudas Dasgupta has already made it known that he will move an adjournment motion on the issue of FDI in retail. Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi has also indicated that if necessary, his party too will table an adjournment motion.

Joining the entire Opposition in opposing the UPA government move was the Trinamool Congress, a Congress ally. In both Houses, members trooped into the well.

Some members in the Rajya Sabha tore up papers containing the business schedule, according to which Commerce Minister Anand Sharma would make a statement on the Cabinet decision.

While the UPA managers were working hard to get the Trinamool on board, their only consolation was the unequivocal support to the government move on FDI from the Akali Dal, an NDA constituent. At a news conference here, Dr. Joshi termed the Cabinet decision “lopsided and anti-people” and asserted that his party would give a ‘direction' to its Chief Ministers not to allow foreign investors into multi-brand retail in their States. He recalled that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce headed by him in 2009 had given a unanimous report opposing FDI in multi-brand retail.

Monopolisation

On its part, the Left took a strident stand, stating the decision would destroy the livelihoods of crores of small retailers and lead to monopolisation of the retail sector by multinationals.

“Coming in the backdrop of a persistent high inflation, growing joblessness and agrarian distress, this decision shows the utterly callous and anti-people character of the UPA government,” the CPI (Marxist) Polit Bureau said.

The CPI said millions of retail traders and people engaged in the trade “will be deprived of their livelihood…it is nothing but selling the house silver to subsidise the corporate sector and undermine our economic sovereignty to international finance capital,” the national executive said, demanding the decision be rescinded.

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