On the eve of an all-party meet convened to end the deadlock in Parliament, the BJP as well as the Left continued to oppose foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley blamed Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi for the decision. “Everybody is well aware with whom the power lies in the Congress and people have not heard the views of the Congress chief and the party general secretary whom that party considers its future leader,” Jaitley said. Releasing a booklet on the issue, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat said his party would be satisfied only with a "complete" rollback of the decision.
“We are totally opposed to it. If the government thinks it can manoeuvre and bring this back, then it is mistaken. We will unite with all other forces opposed to it," he said.
Jaitley said the BJP had always been in favour of reforms provided they were for the welfare of the people. “But all changes are not reforms. Some take us backwards," he added. He also said that before allowing FDI in retail, the government should have strengthened the manufacturing sector. Jaitley even went so far as to warn that if FDI in retail was allowed, India would end up producing a generation of sales girls and boys.
He said the Congress, which is now all for FDI in retail, used to call it anti-national when the NDA was in power. "Congress leader Kamal Nath had said several times that we will not allow FDI in retail."
Jaitley claimed that 4-5 crore families were involved in multi-brand retail and their interest should be protected. Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta said, "The Prime Minister is responsible for this situation. He is threatening to resign if FDI in retail does not go through."