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US multinationals feel the pinch
By Our Own Correspondent

New Delhi: Though the so-called US war on terrorism continues in Kandhar, a war of different type is being waged in India. Amazingly no one is using arms here in the fight. Here it is a new war - something dreaded by the US most.

The announcement made by the ulama around the country to boycott the US goods in protest against the relentless bombing of innocent Afghans, is increasingly making business difficult for multinationals in the country. A large number of Muslim grocery shops and hotels around the country have effectively boycotted the more evident signs of American presence around the world: Coke and Pepsi. It is not Mumbai alone where around 3000 eateries now refuse to serve these two items in their hotels, a large number of hotels and restaurants around the country too have gone on the same line to give a real blow to the US. 

In Delhi where it seemed unlikely that people will follow the call made by ulama to boycott the US goodies, it is becoming harder to find the Coke and Pepsi in shops here too. Even roadside dhabas and eateries are not serving the firangi beverages. Even the neighborhood provision stores too have now joined the war against the US. This correspondent was amazed to find empty shelves in a large number of shops where beverages of these two multinational companies were kept. 

Areas where considerable Muslim population resides have effectively beaten the US in this war. Walled city, Jamia Nagar, Jaffarabad, Seelampur, everywhere it could be found. When this correspondent asked one Naseem Ahmad, running an eatery in Jama Masjid area of the walled city, he said it is our way of agitation. He added that the US should know that it is not the only power that can influence others by force. ‘In this world only the consumer is king’ says Naseem and goes on to add that it is the first time that Muslims have adopted such a unique way of agitation. 

When this correspondent asked another shopkeeper in Okhla who is also supporting the ban, as to why they have refrained from making statements of their boycotting these products unlike their counterparts in Mumbai and Jaipur, he said why should we invite trouble by making statements. He added that they have even not told the company that they are boycotting their products. When the distributors of the two multinationals come for orders and insist for it we say that people are not asking for it. He adds that it is not Mumbai and here people are not as much organized as people in Mumbai or Pune. People have individually taken the stand. And it is effective.

It would have certainly given a nightmare to the two top multinationals who were undisputed king in this segment so far and have subdued all the local brands either by acquiring and retaining them or by scrapping the local brands after purchasing them. Now new, previously unknown companies, are making a beeline for making their presence felt. Spice and other brands are getting shelves they could have never imagined. Though there are no definite words on their increase in sales, they are being sold like anything in the absence of the multinational brands. In Mumbai it was reported that local brands have registered more than 15 percent increase in their sales. The figures should be around the same in case of Delhi and other places too.
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