While the BJP hardened its position against FDI in retail on Friday, key ally Shiromani Akali Dal broke ranks to come out in support of the government's decision.
Another key ally Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, however, rejected the decision, saying it would increase unemployment.
Firebrand BJP leader Uma Bharti on Friday threatened to set fire to Walmart outlets if the retail giant tried to set shop anywhere in India. "I will personally set afire the showroom when it opens anywhere in the country and I am ready to be arrested for the act," Bharti told reporters. She also wrote to LK Advani, Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev urging them to protest against the government's ‘attack’ on the livelihood of crores of small traders.
However, Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal wrote to commerce minister Anand Sharma supporting the move, saying it will bring international expertise, back-end investment and benefit farmers. "The Punjab CM has extended support to FDI in retail as farmers will benefit from it," SAD leader Naresh Gujral told HT. Asked about the divergence with the BJP's stand, he said alliance did not mean complete ideological agreement.
The BJP also plans to take up the issue in Parliament on Monday, and may move an adjournment motion on it. Party leaders are also considering taking BJP-ruled states in the loop to keep foreign retail chains out of their states. “Land and municipal laws being state subjects, state governments can do a quite a bit in discouraging them,” a senior BJP leader said.