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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report

WTO: Swadeshi team to camp at Cancun

BS Political Bureau in New Delhi | August 11, 2003 09:31 IST
Last Updated: August 11, 2003 11:33 IST

A delegation of the swadeshi faction of the Sangh Parivar is expected to camp at Cancun in Mexico to get a first-hand account of the manner in which the Indian government will be conducting itself at the World Trade Organisation negotiations.

In a series of meetings, leaders of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch have finalised their strategy to synergise their efforts with other non-government organisations, which are determined to oppose the agenda set by the developed nations, particularly the US and the European Union.

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Though the SJM rejected the commerce ministry's suggestion to be part of the government delegation, its members will be monitoring the negotiations as an NGO. The run-up to WTO negotiations, however, is likely to be politically stormy because the Cancun meeting will be followed by Assembly polls in five states.

After a brain-storming session, SJM convener Murlidhar Rao said the government's conduct at the WTO would define the relationship between the government and the (Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh) BMS-SJM combine. "We will not go by the high-sounding words, but judge the government by the action on the ground," he said.

The SJM also plans to hold a protest march against the developed nations' tendency to force their agenda during the negotiations.

Significantly, the SJM is trying to reach out to politicians who are even averse to the Sangh Parivar's ideology to make a common cause on the issue.

Referring to the SJM's views on the WTO, Rao said the swadeshi faction (SJM-BMS combine) had made it clear to the government that it was opposed to any move to accept the Singapore issues (trade and investment related issues), reducing the tariff on industry, compromise on the agriculture-related issues.

Union Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley has made several attempts to convince the Parivar that the delegation led by him at Cancun negotiations would be holding a brief, which was being seen by the developed nation as "swadeshi brief".

"We are recognised as an extension of the swadeshi faction by the developed world," Jaitley is believed to have told a section swadeshi leaders at one of the meetings.

The swadeshi faction's move has made implicit the growing suspicion in the Parivar of the government's motives at the WTO.

Apparently, the Sangh is taking the government's version of the ministerial round at Montreal with a pinch of salt, where the Indian delegation opposed the Singapore issues.

Though a senior functionary of the government tried to convince RSS chief KS Sudershan about his "sincere efforts" in taking a tough swadeshi line, the RSS leadership feel that the delegation held the brief because of political compulsions in view of forthcoming Assembly elections and the possibility of the Lok Sabha polls in February.

Sources in the government admit that the delegation was given specific brief by no less a person than Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The swadeshi faction's move to send its own delegation is calculated to get first-hand account of the government's real conduct at the negotiation and take a strategic positioning in the domestic political scenario.

As it is, the government's relations with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on the Ayodhya issue has hit a bad patch.

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