The Socialist Party strongly opposes the tactics of the UPA government attempting to garner the support of the opposition leaders in support of 51% FDI in retail sector. P.M.’s dinner diplomacy is one such tactics. The Socialist Party terms P.M.’s dinner as mrityu bhoj of the hard working poor people whose lives have perished or are destined to perish by such decisions. The Socialist Party strongly condemned this insensitive act of the P.M. The UPA government, adhering to its neo-liberal policies, has been bent upon implementing this decision in favour and benefit of foreign multinational retail chain companies at the cost of retailers and farmers of the country. It would be disastrous not only for the retailers and farmers of the country but also for the cultural ethos of the Indian society.
The UPA government was forced to withhold the decision, announced in November end last year, following united and stiff protest by the non-Congress political parties and trade union bodies. However, the Congress-ruled states’ chief ministers and the Union Commerce and Industry minister, Anand Sharma, were running pole to pillar to garner support of non-Congress chief ministers for the immediate implementation of the decision. The Congress and the champions of the decision are giving the same untenable arguments in favour of FDI which have been refuted by the experts and concerned citizens in the debate raised after announcement of the decision. For example, if cold storage/refrigeration is necessary to preserve fruits and vegetables, as argued by some Congress leaders, this does not call for foreign assistance. It can, obviously, be well accomplished and arranged for by India on her own.
In fact, this decision has been taken under the pressure of the foreign and Indian corporate lobby. In early May, the US Foreign Secretary Mrs. Hillary Clinton visited India with this agenda at top priority. Mrs. Clinton has served on Wal-Mart board as its director for six years. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, had expressed utmost resentment against the decision. That is why Mrs. Clinton went to Calcutta first to meet, praise and appease Mrs. Banerjee. The Indian MD of the French retail giant Carrefour called on Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and raised the issue of allowing FDI in retail at the earliest.
In view of this descending danger, the Socialist Party held a day-long dharna at Jantar Mantar on 28 May 2012 against the government’s decision and submitted a memorandum to the President requesting her to advise the government to scrap the decision conclusively. The Socialist Party also sent a letter to all non-Congress office bearers and chief ministers requesting them not to implement this anti-people and anti-national decision in their states. Further, the Socialist Party observed Quit India day as ‘No to FDI’ day in Delhi and other cities of the country. The party also participated in the Bharat Bandh of 20 September and organised a protest march in Delhi and other cities. The Socialist Party expressed appreciation for the stand taken by Trinmool Congress’s leader Mamata Banerjee for her opposition to the decision.
The Socialist Party would like to emphasise again that the ‘loss-benefit’ discussion that goes in mainstream media and ruling circles on this issue has no meaning. It is for the benefit of the multinationals such as Wall Mart, Carrefour, Tesco and the ruling elite of India. The 4 crore retailers with their 20-25 crore family members will be the losers from the beginning to the end. Country’s farmers will also bear the brunt of the decision. The already critical state of unemployment would be worsened further.
The Congress has thrown away all Constitutional and moral responsibilities meant to help the nation. The ‘godess of renunciation’ Sonia Gandhi and ‘demigod of honesty’ Man Mohan Singh have come out in their true colours. Those who claim to be the champions of socialism and social justice, such as Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Lok Janshakti Party, Dravid Munetra Kazhgam etc., have been playing the game of hide and seek from the very beginning at the cost of the vulnerable sections of our society who trusted them and made them powerful. It is the most unfortunate act on their part that, now, they are gorging mrityu bhoj, offered to them by the P.M. in the name of dinner diplomacy.
In case this dinner diplomacy fails, the country may see the repeat show of the Parliament Session in which Indo-America Nuclear Agreement was passed! Or, the P.M., who is ever ready to sacrifice himself at the alter of neo-liberal reforms, can dissolve the Parliament with the good hope to come back again with the support of the U.S.
The Socialist Party appeals to parties who truly oppose this decision to come together and force the government to scrap it for ever. The party also appeals to the various trader bodies in the country to oppose and defeat this move of the UPA government. The party further appeals to citizens who believe in the Constitutional sovereignty and socialism to come forward unitedly and decisively against this neo-liberal onslaught.
Dr. Prem SinghGeneral Secretary/Spokesman