BJP distances itself from Uma's Walmart remarks

New Delhi: BJP on Friday distanced itself from the fiery comments of its leader Uma Bharti that she would burn down Walmart multi-brand stores if they are opened in India, and maintained that the party was against violence in any form and would democratically oppose FDI in retail.

Asked about Bharti's comments, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi told reporters that the party does not believe in burning down stores though there may be a lot of anger among the common people against the government move to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail.

He said that BJP does not encourage or incite violence and that his stand-and not the views expressed by Bharti- was the official view of the party.

At the same time, he said that earlier when such multi-brand stores were opened by some Indian companies, the farmers had attacked and vandalised them to vent their opposition.

Meanwhile, Bharti- who had earlier today in Lucknow threatened to burn down Walmart stores if they were opened in India- dashed off letters to party leader L K Advani, Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravishankar, Govindacharya, Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare, expressing her concern over FDI in multi-brand retail.

In the letter, Bharti said only 10 per cent of the people had benefitted from economic liberalisation while 90 per cent have been victims which include farmers, labourers and small traders.

"By giving an invitation to Walmart, the Central government has declared a war on seven lakh poor who are employed in retail trade," Bharti said.

In the letter, she appealed to the five people to treat the move similar to the way they have treated black money and corruption issues and suggest ways like they did on Lokpal front to deal with it.

"Just as black money is associated with corruption, so much freedom given to these foreign companies is also associated with corruption," Bharti said.

She said to protect the "food and jobs" of the poor, "a new freedom struggle" against the government decision should be started.