Shiv Sena divided on support to Insurance Bill in Parliament

At a time when Modi govt is pitted against other regional parties, Sena's support to push reforms would be crucial in Parliament.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai | Updated: November 25, 2014 5:04:26 am
Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete arrives on the opening day of the winter session of the Indian parliament in New Delhi. (Source: PTI) Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete arrives on the opening day of the winter session of the Indian parliament in New Delhi. (Source: PTI)

At a time when Narendra Modi government finds voices of protest against the controversial insurance bill getting louder, Shiv Sena also indicated it will have to reconsider its decision following division within the organisation.

The split in the Shiv Sena over support to insurance bill mooted by the Narendra Modi government came into open with a section strongly
voicing its reservation. The centre is proposing to bring an amendment to increase the FDI in insurance sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.

On Monday, senior Shiv Sena (MP) Arvind Sawant said, “The Shiv Sena will oppose the insurance bill if amendments to address the concerns
of the employees and farmers are not incorporated in the act.”

Sawant, who represents the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited employees and various other unions said, “If the government wants to open up insurance sector to private players, it needs to explain how it would protect the rights of the employees.” He asserted, “If any policy
decision is detrimental for the public sector to promote the private sector it cannot be in the national interest.”

Interestingly, Shiv Sena leader in Lok Sabha, Ananth Gite refused to endorse the views expressed by Sawant. Speaking to The Indian Express, the Union Minister for Heavy Industries Gite said, “The Shiv Sena has not taken any decision to oppose the insurance bill in Indian parliament.”

When pointed out that Sawant was expressing his reservations on the insurance sector, Gite said, “I can say that Sena has not taken any
categorical stand to oppose the insurance bill. There is no decision taken on the matter.”

Sawant’s protest against the insurance bill comes a day after Sanjay Raut, leader of party in Rajya Sabha said, “The party will support all the
reforms of the Modi government in parliament session.”

“The Sena is part of the NDA government and we will support the bills. The differences in Maharashtra between Sena and BJP would not affect the functioning in parliament,” he said.

Explaining the reasons for his protest, Sawant said, “My objection is to promoting the private sectors at the cost of public sector. If you have 49 per cent stakes in insurance sector it gives the control to private players.

He wondered, “Unless there is a level playing field how can you encourage any competition between private and public sector.”

He also argued, “Take the case of Indian Airlines. You cannot ignore the public sector in name of promoting private ones.”

The insiders in the Sena said, “The party president Uddhav Thackeray is allowing pressure to build against the BJP at centre to also convey
the message that they are concerned about larger public welfare.”

Interestingly, Shiv Sena’s support on crucial bill will be very important at a time when several regional parties are opposing the insurance bill.

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