The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) state unit has decided to mobilise the support of 40 lakh small traders and 30 lakh farmers across Maharashtra’s 35 districts to launch a campaign against Congress over the controversial issue of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector.
The BJP’s core committee feels it’s a myth that FDI is confined to small traders, and says the bigger concern should be how FDI will improve farmers’ lives. In the wake of Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Delhi on Sunday, BJP’s central leadership has asked its state unit to counter the Congress.
Senior BJP leader Madhav Bhandari said they will ask people as to how FDI will improve their living standard and whether it will help farmers and traders.
What has buoyed the BJP is that all retail sector traders affiliated to the Congress and NCP are disappointed with the government’s decision to allow FDI in retail sector.
Next month, during the winter session of the state legislature, the BJP and Sena will lead an all-farmers’ rally to highlight the risk of FDI in the agriculture sector. Opposition parties are irked that the Centre has not even considered views of its own chief ministers.
State BJP chief Sudhir Mungantiwar said cotton-growing farmers in Vidarbha region were reeling in debt as the state government has “failed to open up cotton procurement centres, leading to their exploitation by private players”.
Madhav Bhandari added that almost 30lakh cotton cultivators from Vidarbha have been left to the mercy of private sectors. “One question that begs an answer is whether economic reforms initiated by Congress will curb price rise,” said Bhandari.