Lodging a strong protest, some of corporate India's most credible personalities -- HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh and former Hindustan Unilever chief and Rajya Sabha MP Ashok Ganguly - said the opposition to opening up India's multi-brand retail sector to foreign direct investment (FDI) of upto 51% was "detrimental to the vast majority".
They were reacting to opposition to the government's November 24 move that got the BJP-led Opposition and UPA allies Trinamool Congress and DMK to stall Parliament for nine days. On Saturday, under pressure from Banerjee, the government deferred implementation of the policy.
"This is a call to the saner sections of corporate India to come out and strongly support progressive measures and reforms with the same spirit and gusto with which we take the liberties to criticise policies," said a 715-word statement released by Parekh and Ganguly on Sunday.
"The protests on FDI in retail are misconceived and unfortunate," they said, rubbishing the claim that the move was sudden.
"On the contrary, the idea has been toyed with for over 14 years."
The duo - part of a 14-member group of eminent citizens that wrote two letters in January and October on India's governance deficit - is not alone.
"Opposition to FDI in retail is regressive and short-sighted. We need large investment and expertise in our supply chains," wrote Mahindra Group vice-chairman and managing director Anand Mahindra on Twitter on November 28.
UB Group chairman and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Mallya, pulled no punches in a November 30 tweet: "Amazing how politics works. Several MPs across party lines agree that FDI in retail is good but are compelled to object to tow party lines."
The next day, Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata echoed the same sentiment, though he didn't use the word 'retail'.
"Political differences and vested interests should never be allowed to stand in the way of India's economic progress," he tweeted, in probably an oblique barb at Banerjee who forced Tata Motor's Nano plant to shift from Singur in West Bengal to Sanand in Gujarat.