The Delhi Congress on Tuesday said it would be writing to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, opposing its “arbitrary” decision to disallow FDI in multi-brand retail. The Congress also said it would call for a discussion on the matter in the Delhi Assembly.
Leader of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) Haroon Yusuf said the decision was in complete violation of legal procedures. “If the government has to take a certain decision, there are procedures that need to be followed. The decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail was taken by the Cabinet and discussed in the Assembly,” he said.
The AAP government in Delhi had written to the Centre on Monday, withdrawing the approval given by the previous Congress government for FDI in multi-brand retail, while stating that an entry of global chains — such as Walmart and Tesco — would result in large-scale loss of employment.
The BJP, which won 32 seats in the Delhi Assembly elections but couldn’t form the government, had also threatened to block the entry of foreign supermarkets.
The AAP had opposed FDI in retail during their election campaign and argued that if it enters the retail sector, then small-scale Indian businessmen will be left with nothing.
Further, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had reiterated that the Walmart experience in the US had showed that farmers didn’t benefit from the move and were deprived of their livelihoods.
Yusuf countered AAP’s rationale and claimed that FDI in multi-brand retail would, in fact, benefit farmers. “The move would cut down the middle-men and effectively create more opportunities for poor farmers. This is why the (previous) Delhi government had implemented it,” he said.
Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely said the decision didn’t have any legal backing.
Asked if the Congress would withdraw support, he said, “It’s not a question of withdrawing support. But we will analyse the details and investigate the legality of the letter, which has been written to the Commerce Ministry.”
The Congress also said the letter sent to it by the AAP, before the formation of government, hadn’t mentioned the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail.