<p>A day after losing the battle with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in Parliament on the issue of allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has threatened to reject the union government’s notification if it is voted to power in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
NDA's claim has got the backing of former alliance partners - Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and AIADMK.
Senior leader of AIADMK, V Maitreyan, has already challenged UPA by saying that by 2014, the party that will be in power, definitely not the Congress-led UPA, will reverse this decision that does not have the support of the majority of states.
“If NDA is voted to power in the next general election in 2014, it will reject the current notification of allowing FDI in retail trade and a policy will be made to upgrade and modernise the domestic trade of the country after holding due and proper consultations with all stakeholders of the retail trade of India,” said Sharad Yadav, convener of NDA.
The union government defeated the motions on FDI in retail in Parliament which was brought by opposition parties led by BJP.
Senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led alliance said that the NDA government will make a policy to modernise domestic retail trade after holding consultations with all stakeholders involved in the retail sector domestically.
“We are a member of NDA and if such a decision is taken, we will support a withdrawal of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail,” said Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha and general secretary Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
This is not the first time that BJP-led NDA has talked about reversing the union government’s decision on FDI in retail. During the national executive meeting of BJP in Surajkund in September this year, Ravi Shankar Prasad, deputy leader opposition in Rajya Sabha, had similarly said that BJP government would reverse the government’s decision on FDI in retail when it comes to power. However, the BJP leadership had soon retracted the statements made by Prasad.
“We do not want FDI in multi-brand retail and it should not be implemented. If NDA comes to power and withdraws the decision then it would be like correcting a mistake,” said Bhartruhari Mahtab of Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
Accusing the Congress party-led UPA government of using manipulative tactics in Parliament during the discussion and voting, Yadav said that the verdict on the issue will be given by the voters of the country in the next general elections.
The senior NDA leader also argued that the union government had agreed to allow FDI in multi-brand retail because it was facing pressure from foreign retail giants and also from domestic companies involved in retail trade because both are set to gain from the decision.
“Technically the issue has gained majority by the manipulative tactics of the union government but the last verdict on this important issue will be given by 1.2 billion people of the country. FDI in retail will affect farmers, small shopkeepers, hawkers, street vendors, small industries, labourers and other sectors of retail trade. The decision taken by the present government under the pressure of global retailers and the domestic corporate will cause major damage to Indian economy and retail trade,” added Yadav.
The NDA convener also pointed out that the NDA government would ensure better prices to farmers for their produce, labourers would get sufficient payment, street vendors will be allowed to continue with their livelihood without any hurdle and the shopkeepers would be able to continue their business without facing bureaucratic hurdle.