BJP ‘divided’,Cong works on numbers

Kamal Nath to reach out to BJP again; ruling party touches base with SP,BSP and JD(U)

Written by D K Singh | New Delhi | Published: August 12, 2013 3:08 am

The UPA government is preparing to push the contentious insurance Bill through in the current session of Parliament and is quietly working on mustering the numbers in case of division and voting as had happened in the case of FDI in retail sector.

While the ruling party has decided to make another attempt to convince the principal opposition party to support the legislation,said sources,it has touched base with its allies like the SP and the BSP as also its potential ally JD(U).

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath is likely to reach out to the BJP yet again to secure its support for the Bill. At a meeting with Finance Minister P Chidambaram on this issue last week,Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj had demanded that passage of the insurance Bill should be left to the next government. Her counterpart in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha were also present at the meeting,which failed to secure the opposition party’s concurrence over 49 per cent FDI.

The BJP is learnt to be divided over the Bill and this split,incidentally,happens to be drawn along pro and anti-Narendra Modi factions of the party. The opposition to this Bill is spearheaded by BJP patriarch L K Advani,Sushma Swaraj and Yashwant Sinha.

Another section of leaders are,however,of the view that when the BJP is trying to showcase and hardsell Modi’s development model and pro-industry and pro-economic reforms image among the middle class in the run-up to the next general election,the party should make an attempt to change its obstructionist image and be seen as a constructive opposition party supporting any move to help the economy get over the current slide.

“With the JD(U) also virtually moving to their camp,the government can anyway get the insurance Bill passed. We should not be opposing it just for the sake of opposition. What do you achieve by this?” said a senior BJP leader.

A divided BJP is good news for Congress party’s floor managers who are confident that they have the requisite numbers to push key legislations in the Monsoon Session,which could be the last window for the UPA II government if it wishes to see the results of its economic initiatives before facing the electorate. The BJP has already given its consent for the pension Bill.

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