The opposition by the Trinamool Congress and the Congress unit in Kerala to the 51% FDI decision in retail is driven more by electoral compulsions than ideology.
A crucial assembly by-poll in Kerala's Piravam constituency appears to have prompted state Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala to go public with his opposition to the move in a bid to check the CPM in weaning away small traders — the support base of the UDF.
A loss could affect the stability of the Congress-led UDF government which has 71 legislators in a house of 140. The CPM-led LDF has 68 MLAs.
In West Bengal, the by-election is in the Kolkata Dakshin Lok Sabha constituency, vacated by TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.
Banerjee is viewing the by-poll as an evaluation of the performance of her government and also one that would measure the work of the opposition.