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Will the Insurance Bill find resistance in Rajya Sabha?

December 10, 2014 01:38 IST

Uncertainty looms over the Insurance Bill as the Congress looks unlikely to support it in the current session of Parliament which is what the Modi government is looking at as a ‘gift’ to United States President Barrack Obama who comes to India in January. Renu Mittal/Rediff.com reports

The select committee has finalised its report with the Congress’s key concerns, but three parties -- the Trinamool Congress, the Left and the Samajwadi Party have expressed dissent on the report. The TMC’s Derek O’Brien has given notice that there should be division in the Rajya Sabha at the introduction stage itself.

While the Congress does not want to completely oppose the bill, since it is their bill originally adopted by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the party appears to be working on the strategy to let the Bill be hanging until the Budget Session, in a bid to spite Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Congress does not want to put at risk the fragile unity of the opposition which has been forged with other political parties who are opposed to the bill, the Congress would not like to be seen as pushing the bill along with the treasury benches.

Nine opposition parties came together against the Modi government and it was this unity that forced the government to accept the resolution condemning the use of foul language, read out by the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, since the government did not want to do it.

A belligerent Congress wanted voting on the resolution in the house but this was again opposed by the treasury benches. The resolution, which was supported by members of the House was adopted, and it was only after that the normal business was resumed.

While the government refused to agree to the resolution, the nine political parties then jointly addressed the media outside, making it clear that they had no problems with the House not being run. When they returned, they were asked by the leader of the House to meet the chairman, and it was then decided that the chair should read out the resolution, which the BJP is now calling merely an observation.

The opposition rejected the words ‘endorse’ and ‘appreciate’ used in the context of the prime minister’s statement and suggested that the word ‘acknowledge’ should be used which was finally agreed to.

An opposition leader observed that the belligerence and aggression of the Congress in the last five days when the House was shut down, indicates that they may be reluctant to break this unity with the opposition.It is being suggested that the

 Congress may make the Modi government to wait for another few months before the Insurance Bill is cleared, as they would not like to be seen as co-operating with Modi to win him brownie points with the US administration.

The Congress has upped the ante against the Modi government. On Monday, the Youth Congress and the Mahila Congress burnt effigies of Home Minister Rajnath Singh outside his residence and party office and demonstrated against the lack of safety for women after a young woman was raped in an Uber cab on Friday.An upset home minister then came to Parliament and made a statement on the incident which has grabbed media headlines.

Interestingly, the Delhi assembly elections are just around the corner and the Congress is going all out to protest for the lack of safety of women in Delhi under the BJP government. Uber, the taxi service in question has been banned along with other on-call taxi services which have been running without licences and proper verification of drivers.

On Tuesday, the Congress jammed all roads leading to Parliament, and staged a marched to the prime minister’s residence to protest against the killings in Chhattisgarh and the neglect by the BJP state government in the state.

Sources say that the Congress’s recent ‘over-activity’ indicates that they may be seriously considering not passing the Insurance Bill in this session though the government is keen to bring it next week. A number of Congress leaders including Anand Sharma is pushing for the Bill, but the final decision will rest with party seniors Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, said a senior leader.

Renu Mittal in New Delhi