Lucknow: Even as political parties oppose the UPA government`s decision to allow 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, a group of traders here has decided to knock at the doors of Lord Ganesha, the god of success.
Beginning Wednesday, a massive puja pandal in the city celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi would pray to Lord Ganesha, seeking his "blessings" to stop the central government from "imposing" its decision on them, the local traders union said.
The 10-day Ganesh festival that kickstarts Wednesday would begin at the Chaupatia Shubh Sanskar Samiti pandaal before a "FDI Ganesha" that has been made on special order. The 4.5-foot Lord Ganesha would be offered traditional sweets and then propitiated to intercede on behalf of the traders so that retail giants "do not step into the Hindi heartland", said an organiser.
"We will be holding special prayers with specific mantras seeking the mercy of the almighty and the removal of the UPA regime, which has taken these decisions," said Riddhi Kishore Gaur, one of the organisers. A team of women has been roped in for the special puja.
Banwari Lal Kanchal, a leader of the traders, said that people in distress often knocked on the doors of god. "We have learnt that when in trouble, seek the intervention of god. If someone is doing that, it is very normal," he said.
Naresh Gupta, another trader, said that only the gods can stop the "modern-day East India Company from coming into India", alluding to the entry of foreign retail brands.
Over three-dozen marquees are coming up in the city for the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. The prominent ones are in Chaupatia, Qaiserbagh, Aminabad, Narahi and Alambagh.
Traders against FDI in multi-brand retail have been protesting across the state. In Kanpur, traders took to the streets Monday with empty gas cylinders and utensils. In Lucknow, they took out processions as beggars.
On the second day of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, traders say they would enforce a state-wide shutdown to protest against FDI, rationing subsidised cooking gas to six cylinders for each household per year and the hike in diesel prices.