Congress on Monday kept the government guessing on the insurance bill asking it to take on board all stakeholders and favouring the select committee route even as it insisted that the measure is its own "baby" and it is a "misnomer" that the party is opposed to it.
"We are totally in favour of foreign . It is our baby and it was the BJP which was opposed to the bill in 2008. We were given to understand that our bill is going to be passed in the House. But the NDA government has made some substantive amendments to the bill.
"We have recommended that the substantive issues like the FDI, which have been diluted by the FII, along with other issues should be discussed, examined dispassionately and objectively by the select committee. The bill can be passed in the winter session and we will ensure its passage," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.
Rejecting suggestions that it was doing a "flip-flop" on the insurance bill issue, party spokesperson Randip Surjewala said, "If investments of lakhs of people are going to be jeopardised, then the necessary balancing has to be done".
"It is misnomer to say that Congress is opposing the bill," he said, adding that what Congress wants that all stakeholders should be appropriately consulted and taken on board before a "considered, rational and reasonable" decision is taken.
Maintaining that Congress has supported FDI, Surjewala added that it has at the same time always talked about inclusive growth with investment and the party will continue to articulate the voice of poor involved in the insurance sector.
The controversial insurance bill, which was listed in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, was deferred for consideration for the time being after a meeting of the government with opposition leaders failed to break the deadlock in the face of the demand to send it to a select committee.
The meeting, convened by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venakaih Naidu, could not iron out differences with the opposition despite Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's plea that the current bill has virtually the same language and content as the previous bill of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance.
Image: Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad