The annual Diwali season sale kicked off by Flipkart and Amazon on Friday began on a sour note, with Akhil Chitre, leader of MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena), threatening to agitate against Flipkart and Amazon for not including Marathi as one of the preferred language options on their respective apps.
Earlier today, tagging Flipkart and Amazon, Chitre tweeted: “Doing business & earning revenue in Maharashtra but still disrespecting the language of the state will not be tolerated henceforth. Apologise and pay serious attention to including Marathi in the list of languages at the earliest.”
In identical letters addressed to top officials of Flipkart and Amazon, Chitre said customers in India can access services on Flipkart and Amazon in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, but it was necessary to respect and include Marathi, too, in the list.
‘Will add more languages’
Asked how Amazon will respond to Chitre’s threat, a spokesperson said: “We remain committed to enabling the Amazon online shopping experience across various Indian languages, including Marathi. Amazon customers can already shop in Hindi and four other regional languages in addition to English. We will continue to add more languages for an enhanced customer experience.”
Expressing a similar sentiment, a Flipkart spokesperson said: “With a mission to democratise commerce in India, Flipkart as a homegrown e-commerce platform constantly endeavours to create new interfaces for our customers to interact on our platform and take the e-commerce experience to the whole country. Over the next few months, we will be bringing more innovative solutions to consumers in multiple languages in addition to the existing lanagues on our platform. We continue to invest deeply into vernacular and voice solutions for Bharat.”
Last October, during the festive season, CAIT (Confederation of All India Traders) had accused Flipkart and Amazon of violating FDI norms by indulging in predatory pricing tactics in a meeting called by DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade), which was attended by Flipkart and Amazon representatives.
“The cases we filed against Flipkart and Amazon are pending in the Karnataka High Court. In the meantime, we are getting ready to launch BharateMarket, our national e-commerce marketplace which will be a fitting reply to Flipkart and Amazon. We wanted to launch it by October 27, but Covid-related delays has pushed the launch to November. While we have already onboarded 40,000 traders onto BharateMarket, our mission is to onboard one crore traders by December 2021,” said Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, CAIT, which represents seven crore traders through 40,000 trade associations pan India.