Thug proposes. Mayawati disposes.

Political skulduggery closes down organised retail in Uttar Pradesh.

First, a bunch of thugs, led by a MP belonging to the Samajwadi Party attacks and ransacks big retail stores belonging to Reliance Fresh and RPG Spencer’s in Lucknow and Varanasi.

You would think that the Mayawati government, which came to power promising to end the rampant lawlessness in Uttar Pradesh under the previous government, would take action against the thugs, traders or whoever the ransackers were.

What Chief Minister Mayawati orders instead is a closure of all organised retail stores and the setting up of a panel to review whether such stores should be allowed at all. A committee of bureaucrats would “would look into the law and order, health, sanitation and locational aspects of the existing and proposed retail stores”.

How is this any different from blaming a rape victim for wearing ‘revealing clothes’?

This is bad news. Not just for Uttar Pradesh’s consumers, but also for the national economic agenda. Mayawati, after all, has prime ministerial ambitions.

2 thoughts on “Thug proposes. Mayawati disposes.”

  1. Thoughts:
    We are only seeing beginnings of a serious non-market challenge Reliance, Pantaloon, Spencers and the likes are about to face. None of these business houses have grown to their current sizes by dis-intermediating sectors of this size and reach in the Indian population. Couple this with the socialist streak in all of India (and thus political parties) and you see a big opportunity for the Mayawati to use this as a means of acquiring more power. She is too smart to miss that.

    An interesting element was not obvious in your link but was apparent in television reporting. The promotional material used by the arsonists was very sophisticated and strongly resembled that used by anti-Walmart protesters in the United States (www.walmartwatch.com , http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0473107/).

    Rising prices are not going to make things easy for big retailers. They may not be responsible for it but they will get blamed anyhow. They make a splendid scapegoat, like the futures market.

    On another note, this is why Bharti and Walmart’s current approach of creating merely 15 odd cash and carry centers could be a very smart move. They are planning to sell to small retailers. This will only hurt places like Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazaar in Delhi – where small retailers come regularly to replenish their stock of clothes, food, etc. This is a tiny segment compared to taking on every vegetable and fruit vendor in Delhi.

  2. I didnt realized she backtracked on contract farming as well. Big faux pas. Dont expect anymore bold experiments from her, she will pretty much stick to the entitlement script cultivating key social groups. Delhi is a long way off not just for her but for all 1 man/woman regional parties. They just dont have the capacity to tolerate an alternate power center, Deve Gowda learnt it the hard way, NTR and then Naidu suppressed their national ambitions on account of it. Perhaps only Lalu and Mulayam are better placed on this front.

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