No FDI in multi-brand retail in UP, Mulayam to decide on UPA alliance: Akhilesh

While he may not have opposition to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in other sectors, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has said he will not permit FDI in multi-brand retail in the state.

The chief minister, whose party has been opposed to opening the retail sector since before the government's announcement yesterday, said the government's move could hit small traders.

"The Samajwadi Party is clear that FDI in retail will not be implemented in Uttar Pradesh. We believe FDI should be allowed in electricity, in road construction. But in retail it will adversely affect our local traders," Yadav said today.

The decision on continuing support to UPA to be taken by the party national president. Their party was firm on keeping communal forces at bay, he said.

"Only the National President will decide how the support will continue. It has been asked several times but Samajwadi Party will always provide support to counter communal powers in the country," he said.

A unified front against FDI in multi-brand retail. PTI

"Samajwadi Party's view is very clear on the FDI issue and it will not implement it in Uttar Pradesh," Yadav told reporters.

Denying that there was a proposal to open such stores in the state, he said, "But the question is, what will happen to the stores already opened. BSP government implemented it (FDI in retail) and opened new stores. But Samajwadi Party is not in favour of opening new stores."

Asked whether people came to meet him with these proposals, he said those were only courtesy calls from
investors.

"Whoever came to meet, it was just a courtesy call. They came just to congratulate us. As fas as business is concerned, they said they want to bring in investment and want government cooperation for this," Yadav said.

Yadav's not the only chief minister, whose party supports the UPA government, but is opposing the opening up of the retail sector to investment.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who heads UPA ally Trinamool Congress, has given the government a 72 hour deadline to roll back FDI in retail and the hike in diesel prices. She hasn't yet specified her plan if the government refuses to back down.

However, if she does act on her threat, it could mean a more important role for the Samajwadi Party at the Centre, given it has been supporting the UPA government from the outside.

After months of deliberations, the government had yesterday cleared Foreign Direct Investment in the retail sector, paving the way for the entry of retail giants like Wal-Mart.

with inputs from PTI