Those who thought that Pranab Mukherjee getting out of the finance ministry will pave the way for new reforms, might have to stop and think again.
The usual suspects have already started their sabre rattling against the law, which was once stalled due to opposition from allies of the ruling Congress.
Indications are that the opposition to foreign direct investment in retail is likely to be as strong as earlier, if not more.
A report in The Times of India says leaders of the Samajwadi Party and the Left have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cautioning him against opening the sector without broad consensus.
In the letter they have pointed out that a Wal-Mart supermarket will result in closure of 1,300 small retail shops and render around 3,900 people jobless, the report said.
They have urged the government not to open up the retail sector further and warned that political parties across the spectrum are opposed to the move. Many state governments have also stated their opposition, the letter said.
The letter is adding fuel to the Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee’s opposition, which had earlier forced the government to stall a law that allowed 51 percent foreign investment in retail.
The government had started its efforts to bring about the legislation quickly.
According to reports Commerce Minister Anand Sharma had started talking to stake holders involved to arrive at a consensus. The plan was to give state governments the freedom to decide whether they should allow entry to global retail giants.
There have been reports quoting Congress-ruled states like Delhi and Maharashtra welcoming the retail reform.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had termed the reform “a revolution that is taking place in the country”.
Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee has ruled out any support to the FDI move.
The letter is indication that a well-oiled opposition to the reform-in-the-making is taking shape, and the country may have to wait longer for FDI in retail.