Lame duck confirmed
As expected, Congress led UPA-II won FDI vote on retail in Lok Sabha. Thanks to abstentions by BSP and Samajwadi Party. Even as the government heaved a sigh of relief, the signals are not good. Despite flaying BJP for being “communal”, neither the SP nor the BSP voted in favour of the FDI. Both the resgional satraps played safe and kept their options open for 2014 general elections. The SP supremo, Mulayam Singh Yadav is once again showing Prime Ministerial ambitions. BSP has always been a slippery customer.
The FDI in retail might help the government of the day to please its international audience for the time being, but in the rural India, which votes to elect a government. Opposition has called it a moral defeat and the Congress also knows it.
Top Congress leaders duck Gujarat campaign
The Congress has shown little interest in roping its top leaders for campaigning in Gujarat. Rahul Gandhi is being sent at the closing stages to campaign against Modi. The Congress leaders made it clear that the party had so far kept Rahul out of Gujarat because the fight might then be viewed as that between Modi and Rahul The Congress feel that Modi’s victory then could possibly hit Rahul’s image and damage his prospects to woo the electorates as the next Prime Ministerial candidate of the country. The party does not want to expose its so called “charismatic leader” to Modi “too much.”
Will staging a walk out on the crucial FDI vote save SP and BSP in the state ? The parties known for striking bargains with the ruling government have done it again. But this time there could be trouble for them in Uttar Pradesh. Traders in Uttar Pradesh have asked the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party to vote against FDI in retail, if they wanted their votes in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The state president of the Adarsh Vyapar Mandal, Sanjay Gupta said, “Both, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, have been maintaining a silence on the issue and though they say that they oppose FDI in retail,they remain ambiguous about their stand in Parliament. If both of them do not vote against the FDI in Parliament, we would never vote for them.”
There are about two crore traders in Uttar Pradesh and Lucknow alone has a trader population of about 1.5 lakhs. Traders and their families, therefore, play a crucial role in elections. Various traders’ associations had already faxed their views to the offices of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party and have also sought direct communication with their leaders. “If these leaders betray us in Parliament, we will stage road protests, marches and strikes against them in the coming days. The FDI in retail will deal a death blow to smaller traders and will jeopardize the economy,” the traders said. The question is now that these two parties saved the government and in turn helped to bring in the FDI, will the traders rise in protst ?
Fatwa on jobs too
The leading Islamic seminary, Darul Uloom Deoband, has issued a fatwa slamming the appointment of Muslim women as receptionists. The fatwa said that this profession for women is illegal and against Shariat laws. The fatwa was issued after a query on November 29 from a Pakistan-based company asking if it could appoint a Muslim woman as a receptionist. The fatwa said, “Muslim women working in offices as receptionist is un-Islamic because Muslim women are not allowed to appear before men without veil and as a receptionist, the woman has to expose her face before unknown men”.\
In a related development, Mufti Zulfikar Ali, a well known Muslim cleric and president of UP Imam Organization, also upheld the fatwa and said Muslim women can work in institutions after wearing the veil but the work of a receptionist is to constantly interact with people, which is unacceptable.
A temple for Mulayam?
The Samajwadi Party has disassociated itself with the construction of a temple dedicated to SP president, Mulayam Singh Yadav that is being constructed by a group of over- zealous party workers in Aligarh. SP youth leader Rajesh Saini laid the foundation stone of the temple at Nagla Mali in Dhanipur area of Aligarh district on November 22, which was the 74th birthday of Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav. UP chief minister and state SP president Akhilesh Yadav said on Thursday that his party was against statues in temples of living persons.