Swadeshi Jagran Manch(SJM), the economic wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has dropped a bombshell just a couple of days ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-2 government.
SJM has targeted NDA partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Member of Parliament from Bathinda and former Union Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal over a tweet from multinational giant Walmart.
SJM national co-convener Dr Ashwani Mahajan has alleged that the Badal family and Walmart share a special relation and that former minister had helped the multinational company by pitching for FDI in food processing sector.
The RSS economic wing took a strong exception to a tweet from CEO Walmart India congratulating the former Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on her win in Bathinda constituency when Lok Sabha poll results were declared on May 29.
Talking to India Today TV, the SJM leader said, “When election results came, there was a congratulatory message from Walmart CEO for Harsimrat Badal and not for Prime Minister, this shows the Badals and Walmart have some special connection. This should be investigated.”
“Badal government was the first to open Walmart store in Punjab. When Harsimrat Badal became minister in Modi government, she made a strong pitch to allow FDI in the food processing sector and managed to get the policy tweaked which allowed marketing of food products as well,” he alleged.
Dr Mahajan said that the Modi government allowed it despite a protest by SJM and told them that no multinational company would be interested in marketing food products.
“We were alarmed when last month Walmart applied for a license to open retail food stores. When this government came to power in 2014, its manifesto had promised that FDI will not be allowed in multi-brand retail sector. But now we fear that if FDI has been allowed for food, then it may pave way to multi-brands as well,” said Dr Mahajan.
“This will be like entry from backdoor for the multinational companies in the multi-brand retail sector and will impact lakhs of small traders and shopkeepers,” he said.
Reports suggest Walmart has recently applied for a license to open food retail stores through its acquired company in India, Flipkart. In 2016, Modi Government had allowed 100 per cent FDI in trading of food products, including through e-commerce to boost food processing sector in the country.