It's actively trying to scare off retail-FDI players
As a major political party, the BJP is well within its rights to oppose the entry of FDI in retail, never mind the fact that when it was in power it was also toying with the same idea. Political parties are entitled to change their minds when new facts emerge, or depending on whether there are new advantages to be gained—that makes life difficult for those conducting business, but that’s life.
But the problem with the BJP’s stance on FDI in retail is that it is going beyond mere opposition. Senior leaders are suggesting that, were the BJP to come to power in New Delhi, it may change the rules and make it illegal to have FDI in retail. Apart from the fact that there is enough room for the kiranas to grow even when organised retail grows fast, and the obvious illogical move of supporting big Indian retailers while opposing foreign ones—is it more honourable for a kirana to die at Reliance Retail’s hands than Walmart’s?—the BJP should know that all policies are prospective. So, if the party was indeed to come to power, it can’t force a Walmart or a Carrefour to shut shop—it can only stop them from setting up additional stores. Obviously, the idea is to scare off the Walmarts and Carrefours from making even an initial foray. Imagine the havoc if other political parties were to start playing similar games?