It may be recalled that the government failed to conduct proceedings of the monsoon sessions of the parliament as the opposition, particularly BJP obstructed proceedings demanding resignation of the Prime Minister in view of CAG revelation against national loot in allocation of coalmines. In spite of brave defence arguments put forward by some ministers, the Congress realised that it would be difficult to face the public and cover up their misdeed on such large-scale corrupt practices.
At a time when the opposition is gearing up their strategies to make UPA’s corruption trail a major electoral issue in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress has decided to come out with a brave policy decision in FDI in retail sector. This serves mainly two purposes.
Firstly, it will unite all the opposition parties with a stiff opposition. That will help the Congress to divert the public attention from corruption to FDI. Secondly, it helps to boost the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s image internationally from a `silent spectator to massive corrupt deals’ to assertive ‘reformist’ position.
For the first time, the international media, particularly US-based media started coming out with cover page stories like ‘underachiever’ and `silent prime minister’, pointing out his incapability to push through economic reforms. The US corporate sector was worried at Dr. Singh’s failure to allow FDI in retail sector for last two years, as they needed such policy initiative from India to save themselves from deep economic crisis.
The retail brands in the US and Europe badly needed to occupy Indian markets to save them from the ongoing financial crisis. For them, Dr Singh is a big favourite to protect their economic and strategic interests.
The FDI in retail sector may cause immense damage to the Indian economy, but the Congress strategies are confident that it would not harm them like issue of corruption. According to them, UPA II is badly damaged among urban voters for last two years. The rural people may not understand the impact of FDI immediately and they may continue their support to the Congress. But, during the last two years, various indications are showing that Congress has been losing its grip on urban voters. BJP and other opposition parties are gaining their strength in the urban areas.
Observers felt that the educated and middle-class voters in the urban areas may vote against corruption, but not FDI in retail sector. These voters, by and large are likely to support this move as they can get access to various US and European products.
Keeping in view all these calculations, the Congress has resorted to a `master stroke’ in the form of FDI in retail sector to regain its strength and also to get ready for mid-term polls.
It may be recalled that Dr. Singh displaying a resolve to stand his ground on reforms in the face of belligerent allies like Mamata Benerjee and a combined opposition, said in a meeting that it will take "courage and risks" to achieve high growth.
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