The traders’ strike in Mumbai fizzled out on Thursday as the tussle between ruling Congress and NCP caused a split in the traders’ outfit that had organised a month-long strike against local body tax (LBT).
While the Federation of Associations in Maharashtra (FAM) decided to meet chief minister Prithviraj Chavan for talks only in the presence of NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Friday, some wholesalers defied it and took part in the meeting organised by the Congress Party on Thursday. The Congress, which galvanised into action after traders met NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday, also roped in retailers for Thursday’s meeting.
In his meeting, Chavan clarified that there was no deadline for implementing LBT. It would be debated in the legislature and the law would be modified before adopting LBT.
“Mumbai traders’ apprehension of LBT has disappeared as the chief minister promised to take them into confidence while framing the LBT rules,” said Janardhan Chandurkar, Mumbai Congress President.
On the absence of FAM, Chandurkar said: “FAM is not the only organisation and we had others in the meeting who were happy with the outcome.”
Viren Shah, president of Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, said he was satisfied with the assurance given by the chief minister.
“Chavan asked us to provide our views and assured that he won’t push through the LBT,” said Shah.
Various wholesalers’ organisations representing steel and metal, artificial jewellery and paints attended the meeting apart from the retailers.
FAM expressed displeasure over the meeting.
“It is unfortunate that the state is trying to divide the traders. The Friday meeting was decided before and our members from across the state are attending it. It would amount to betrayal if we had attended the meeting today,” said Mohan Gurnani.