The BJP on Wednesday reiterated that it was opposed to FDI in multi-brand retail, adding that the “consequences (on FDI) would follow” if it comes to power.
“FDI in retail is not in favour of farmers and the 1000-year-old retail chain in the country. If we return to power, the consequences will follow,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Sources said Gujarat CM Narendra Modi has urged the party to have 5,000 public meetings, 10 per Lok Sabha constituency, to mobilise traders against FDI in retail. Earlier, while summarising Gadkari's speech at the conclave, Prasad had focused on corruption, while just mentioning that the party was opposed to 51% FDI in multi-brand retail. When asked if this meant the party could settle for a smaller percentage of FDI in the sector, Prasad said it was demanding full rollback.
Another BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar also avoided a direct answer to a question on whether the BJP would scrap the reform if voted to power, saying this was a hypothetical question as “the UPA government would be forced to roll back” the reform.
A BJP leader told HT on condition of anonymity that FDI below 50% in retail could have made things easier, as it would deny ownership to multi-national retail giants. But, he added, since most small traders were the party's political constituency, opposition to the measure was crucial for the BJP.
However, mindful that an unclear message may be disseminated on FDI, a BJP leader told HT that Gadkari will have plenty of things to say against retail FDI during the national council meet on Thursday.