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BJP gets a dose of its medicine

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BJP gets a dose of its medicine, The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is getting a dose of its medicine from the opposition Congress as it pushes for the first major economic reform of the Modi Sarkar

New Delhi: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is getting a dose of its medicine from the opposition Congress as it pushes for the first major economic reform of the Modi Sarkar -- the Insurance (Amendment) Bill in this session of the parliament. The Bill seeks to allow 49 per cent Foreign Direct Investment in the Insurance sector, and would be touted as the proof of the efficiency of the Modi government in his maiden I-Day speech as well as his US visit in the first week of September.

Both union ministers Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu, who met leaders of the opposition to secure a consensus on the Bill, found the Congress party’s stalling tactics irksome. The Bill was mooted by then finance minister P Chidambaram in 2008, but it ran a hurdle race with the BJP opposing it as a ‘sell-out’ to foreign elements. So, in essence it is a Congress Bill, but with a role reversal in Parliament the party is in no mood to facilitate its smooth passage.

“They lambasted our economic policies in the election campaign, and the people rejected us. So we are also learning our lessons. We are not going back on our commitment to the Bill, but we want that all stakeholders should be consulted,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.

The all-party consultations have remained inconclusive, even as the government has indicated that it is willing to incorporate the changes suggested by the Congress. However, it is not agreeable to the opposition demand that the Bill should be referred to the select committee, because then it would not be passed in this session.

Jaitley has outlined that the opposition has three options -- accept, amend or reject the bill. However, a take or leave it attitude would not serve the government’s interests as it does not have a majority in the the Rajya Sabha. It could work to divide the opposition having already succeeded in getting the Biju Janata Dal, and the Nationalist Congress Party on its side. The next few days would decide the fate of this Bill.

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