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BJP says FDI fight on, rejects insurance bait

BJP says FDI fight on, rejects insurance bait
The Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] has ended the uncertainty over its stand on foreign direct investment [FDI] in insurance and pension sectors: in its core committee meeting on Saturday, it decided to oppose FDI in both the sectors. Till recently, it had been ambiguous about its stand on the issue and had been quoting the parliamentary standing committee recommendations on finance, which is headed by its leader Yashwant Sinha. The recommendations say that FDI in insurance sector should be capped at 26 per cent.   

The stand taken by the BJP at its core committee meeting has surprised many, as it had been advocating that it was not against FDI in insurance and pension. The BJP spokesperson Prakash Javedkar had said on Thursday that 10 years ago Sinha was the first one to propose 49 per cent FDI in insurance and at that time the Congress had opposed it.

However, the party seems to have kept a window of opportunity open for the Congress for negotiations. A top BJP leader said that his party had a right to oppose the government decision given it was neither consulted on FDI in multi-brand retain and nor in the insurance sector.  

Apart from clearing its stand on FDI in insurance and pension sectors, the BJP has also decided that it will support the no-confidence motion if it is brought by the Trinamool Congress. This follows the earlier party decision that it would not bring a no-confidence of its own against the government.  

Earlier the party had clearly spelt its stand on FDI in retail during its national executive meet in Surjakund. It had said that if the BJP was voted to power it would scrap the FDI decision taken by the Manmohan Singh government, as it harms the livelihood of people. The party's decision on Saturday to oppose FDI in insurance and pension seems to be part of the larger plan to oppose the second phase of economic reforms initiated by the government recently.

With the government cornered on corruption issues, the BJP leadership, sources say, believes that supporting the government initiative on economic reforms will allow the United Progressive Alliance to escape from the crisis. They have already launched a nation-wide campaign against the economic decisions of the government. Now it needs to be seen whether the party will be in the same aggressive mode in Parliament over the FDI issue as it was in the coal scam.
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