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Congress keeps BJP on the edge

Congress keeps BJP on the edge
Highlights

Keeping the govt on tenterhooks on key reform measures like the Insurance Bill and GST, Congress said there is \"no blank cheque\" on its support on these in Parliament as the \"devil lies in the details\".

'No blank cheque' for support on GST, Insurance Bills

New Delhi: Keeping the govt on tenterhooks on key reform measures like the Insurance Bill and GST, Congress said there is "no blank cheque" on its support on these in Parliament as the "devil lies in the details".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his cabinet colleagues talking to media during the opening day of the Winter Session of Parliament on Monday
Although claiming the Goods and Services Tax bill as "entirely a Congress baby," its spokesperson Abhisek Singhvi said its support was "subject to nitty-gritty." On the Bill proposing to raise FDI in insurance sector from 26 to 49 per cent also, he remained non-committal, saying "it is dangerous to speak in abstract". He parried direct questions on whether Congress will support the Bills or join parties like JD(U), SP, RJD and the Left in opposing these. Singhvi recalled that the passage of the GST Bill, when UPA had brought it, was opposed tooth and nail by Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat Chief Minister. "BJP's opposition to GST was irresponsible, petty and against public interest," he said.

The Bills appear to be hanging by a thread. Their passage depends on the Congress backing in the Rajya Sabha. The NDA has only 56 MPs in the Upper House of 245 members. In contrast, Congress has 68 and the Left and ‘Janata Parivar’ parties have about 60 Members.
‘Confident of Oppn support’

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government on Monday expressed confidence at getting the Insurance Bill, which seeks to raise the cap on foreign equity in the sector from 26 percent to 49 percent, through Parliament even as some Opposition parties appeared allied against the measure.

"We are committed. We want insurance reforms at the earliest and I am confident of getting the support of major opposition parties as they have all given a commitment," Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said.

Sources said government is trying to bring together parties which may support it in the Upper House where it is in a minority.

Sources said government is trying to seek support from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to ensure numbers.

However, in a surprise turn, BSP supremo Mayawati on Monday said there was no reason for her party to oppose the Bill if the select committee accepts its suggestions.

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