Mamata to hit Delhi streets on Oct 1

     Continuing her protest against the Centre’s push for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multibrand retail, West Bengal Chief Minister and erstwhile UPA member Mamata Banerjee is planning a huge rally in New Delhi on October 1. Banerjee has been steadfast in her opposition to the foreign supermarket chains, saying they would hurt millions of small shopkeepers. Earlier this month, Banerjee pulled out of the ruling coalition over the ‘anti-people’ economic reforms initiated by the Congress led government at the Centre, that included a rise in the prices of diesel, FDI in multi-brand retail, aviation and media, and putting a cap on number of subsidized LPG cylinders to be issued to BPL families. She has maintained that she welcomes private investment to create jobs in areas such as tourism and industrial projects, even for hospitals, but will always oppose policies that destroy jobs for farmers and small retailers. Bannerjee said she would uphold her years-old opposition to raising the price of heavily subsidised fuel and rail fares. “I have seen some people sitting in a room and they just increase the price , only for the common people. You have to nurture the other options also, you have to go for other new ways out also. How can you develop? How can the business be developed? How can you earn more money?” she had said recently. With her 19 lawmakers in parliament, she was the second biggest ally of the Congress party, which has now become a minority government. Many experts say her breaking away from the government could actually free the economist prime minister to announce some more long pending reforms. With no party willing to face the electorate right now, the government is not in immediate danger of losing power.

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