Pro-RSS Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh will be holding a massive demonstration in the capital on November 21 to protest against entry of corporates and foreign retailers into this sector, as they said it threatened the livelihood of over four crore people.
“We are going to hold a massive rally in the capital and our aim is to mobilise public opinion on this issue since it affects the livelihood of over four crore people. Our demand is that not only Reliance but other corporates like Spencer’s and ITC, too, should not be allowed in the retail sector. We are also opposed to Wal-Mart of America entering through partnership with Bharti and the German retailer Metro,” Ashwani Mahajan, member, Central Steering Committee of SJM, told reporters in the capital yesterday.
Mahajan along with Girish Avasthi, national president of BMS, said if this agitation fails to evoke any positive response from the government, which they accused of planning to allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in this sector, “we would step up our agitation and see that these retailers are not allowed to open their businesses in this country.”
Adopting an aggressive posture, Mahajan said, “If there is any breakdown of law and order, or any untoward incident occurs in the event of our agitation being stepped up, it would be the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government that would be responsible for all eventualities.”
He said there was still time for the government to act and bring about legislation in parliament, or take measures to ensure that corporates do not monopolise the retail sector leaving crores of small retailers unemployed.
“Even those corporates like Reliance who are going into vegetables and fruits would eventually deprive the farmers of a good price as they would in course of time monopolise the agriculture sector. The move by the government to allow corporates to go into retail in the fruit and vegetable sector is being done so that it can wash its hands off the problems of farmers,” Mahajan said.
He accused the UPA government of ignoring the interests of farmers and “these kind of moves of encouraging retailers into agriculture is being done with this purpose.”
Appreciating the move by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati to shut down Reliance Fresh outlets in Uttar Pradesh, SJM and BMS said they would welcome all those who are against retail to join hands with them.
On the opposition to retail by Telengana Rasthra Samiti (TRS) in Andhra Pradesh, Mahajan said, “It is not so much what ideology we have, but if the cause is the same, there is nothing wrong in all of us joining together. The big retailers have to be stopped since they would otherwise take away jobs of crores of people.”
– Sri Krishna