New Delhi : It has been attacking the government on corruption and price rise but questions are now being raised whether the BJP conceded political momentum to the Congress-led UPA government after the opposition-led motion against FDI in multibrand retail failed.

Did the party overplay its hand by forcing a vote?  Analysts say there was no immediate gain for the BJP and any benefit in the long-term was also uncertain.

The motion against foreign direct investment in multibrand retail was negatived in both houses of parliament earlier this week after Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) helped the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). The BJP had been insistent on a discussion on FDI in multibrand retail with voting rules as it smelt a chance to embarrass the government. The party’s other ostensible aim was to expose the SP and the BSP on their “double standards” to improve its prospects in Uttar Pradesh. But it failed on both counts, experts said.

Senior journalist S. Nihal Singh said the BJP had overplayed its hand on FDI in multibrand retail and should not have opted for a vote.

“The BJP really overplayed its hand. It is alright to make noise on an evocative issue…the party made it into a big political fight. The government was able to cover its flanks with help of BSP and SP,” Nihal Singh told IANS. He said the BJP was unlikely to dent either the SP’s or BSP’s image in Uttar Pradesh over their stance on FDI as people tend to forget quickly.

“Frankly, the capacity of skulldudgery of Uttar Pradesh politics is amazing,” Nihal Singh said. Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Nilotpal Basu, however said the economic policy will not benefit the country in the long run and justified the opposition move to block the policy that aims to bring multi-national brands like Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco into Indian cities.

“We wanted to stop this policy…the government completely lost the debate. It was not able to counter the points raised by the opposition parties,” he said.  —IANS

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