Accusing Government of trying to divert attention from corruption issue with its decision on FDI in multi-brand retail, BJP today 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 immediatley 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," 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," 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.
"Coal (scam) was burning and the government has poured diesel and LPG over it. And now there is FDI in multi-brand retail.... This will have a deep impact on the economy," Nadda said.
Prasad said that the PM must explain what prevented him from taking hard decisions to contain price rise and inflation and check 'shameful' corruption during UPA rule.
He, however, warned that the UPA would not succeed in its design to deflect attention from the coal block allotment issue, price rise, inflation and corruption as the BJP would relentlessly pursue the issues.
The BJP leader said UPA allies like SP and Trinamool Congress should decide whether they were parties to these decisions or opposed to it.
"If Mamata and Mulayam are opposed to the UPA's policy decisions on diesel and FDI in multi-brand retail, then they should act immediately and withdraw support to the government by writing letters to the President," he said.
The BJP alleged that the FDI decision has been taken under the pressure of the foreign companies and the foreign media. "All stakeholders of the FDI in multi-brand retail should have been consulted," Nadda said.
Domestic conditions should be taken into consideration by the government, BJP said.
The party continued its tirade against the government on the issue of corruption.
"It is becoming a (TV) serial. There is one episode after another of corruption and scams," Nadda said.
The BJP alleged that the government has become immune to all criticism though it is facing barbs from civil society, constitutional bodies, Supreme Court and the opposition.
The Opposition also rubbished the government's contention that FDI will bring money into the domestic market. It alleged that the retail traders of the country will be affected by this.
Defending the earlier policy, BJP said the resilience of that stand had helped the country ward off the global economic slowdown and India had done considerably well despite all the "corruption and scams" taking place in the country.
Demanding Manmohan Singh's resignation, the opposition party said since CBI is probing the coal scam and the agency comes under the Prime Minister it cannot be expected to conduct an independent investigation as long as he is at the helm.
Advani said the government's decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail comes at a time when the 'Coalgate' issue was in focus across the country was viewed by some as a "desperate bid" to shift the focus of debate from corruption to 'reforms'.
"If Government really thinks so, it is gravely mistaken," he said on his blog today, adding that the decision was taken on a day when the Supreme Court has put six pertinent questions to government about this coal scandal.
"The FDI in retail issue may actually prove for UPA nothing other than Harakiri (self destructive)," Advani said.
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