…leftwingers inside and outside the Congress party, including a few of Mr Singh’s allies in the multi-party coalition, oppose economic liberalisation and in some cases regard retail reform as a capitalist plot masterminded by Walmart.
“The tragedy is that our prime minister has begun to worship the US,” said Sitaram Yechury, leader of the opposition Communist Party of India – Marxist. “Congress wants Indians to be slaves and foreigners to be our masters. We will not accept FDI [foreign direct investment] in retail. We will protest this decision till our last breath.”
On the political right, BJP leaders – backed by small shopkeepers wary of retail competitors – sense an opportunity to destabilise the government before its term expires in 2014 and are not shy in pursuing that goal through short-term alliances with the hard left.