Modi’s Asset Leasing Plan Faces Right-Wing Labor Union Dissent
(Bloomberg) -- An Indian labor union that shares the same ideological gene as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is planning a protest this week against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to raise money by leasing state assets.
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh has called for a nationwide protest Thursday against the government’s policy, its General Secretary Binoy Kumar Sinha said in an interview by phone Tuesday. The union is affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, whose nationalist ideology is the cornerstone of Modi’s BJP.
“Asset monetization is not going to help the economy. It is not going to create jobs,” said Sinha. “It’s like selling the family silver to meet daily expenditures.”
This is the second time in two years the BMS is openly protesting Modi’s policies, showing the party is not immune to opposition even among its primary right-wing constituency. The BMS had last year condemned suspension of laws protecting the labor force in the BJP-ruled state of Uttar Pradesh.
Still, their calls for a rethink could go unheeded.
“The government will not change its mind on asset monetization,” said Siddappa Bagalkoti, a professor of economics with Karnatak University. “They will try to convince the trade unions about their plan.”
BMS’s Sinha, who said his union represents more than 17 million members, hinted at the possibility of another round of protest Nov. 2 if the government doesn’t find an alternative to leasing of assets.
“While workers faced job cuts and wage loss, the income of capitalists increased,” said Sinha. “Whosoever is in power, all the policies are decided and dictated by the capitalists.”
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