The government has initiated a lot of reform measures over the last couple of months. In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Rahul Bajaj, chairman of Bajaj Auto says the effort has been made by the government. "I believe that if BJP is on board, even with the opposition of Mamataji and the Left, there is a good chance of many of the bills getting passed in the Rajya Sabha. But if BJP is not on board then, I don’t know the latest numbers, but with others opposing anyway, I think they are not likely to be passed," he adds.
Below is the edited transcript of his interview to CNBC-TV18.
Q: In the recent past, we have seen an effort being made by the government to change the perception of policy paralysis. Have things really changed on the ground? What is the sense you are getting as you talk to investors at the World Economic Forum?
A: Since September 14-15, the effort has been made by the government. In September, the Congress Party through Soniaji and Rahulji supported the government’s reform measures. So, the government and the party were on the same page as it would appear. After this, I believe, legitimate talk of no action leading to no work getting done, people saying paralysis of decision-making, that feeling did change.
Whether it is Insurance Bill, Companies Bill, Pension Bill, the parliament has to pass it. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have to pass it. I believe that if BJP is on board, even with the opposition of Mamataji and the Left, there is a good chance of many of these bills getting passed in the Rajya Sabha. But if BJP is not on board then, I don’t know the latest numbers, but with others opposing anyway, I think they are not likely to be passed.
Q: You are talking about the BJP’s role and about the role of the opposition in passing those crucial legislations, which are stuck in parliament. But the government’s grouse is that corporate India talks about what the government is doing or is not doing, what the government ought to have done, it doesn’t talk about or it doesn’t put pressure or enough pressure on the opposition to get any of this done. We have seen the government announce FDI in multi-brand retail, but the BJP continues to oppose it saying that if they were to come to power, they may actually reverse that legislation. So, doesn’t that create fear in the minds of investors? What about the role of the opposition? Why isn’t corporate India putting enough pressure on the opposition?
A: I don’t share the view of BJP, if and when they have said, I don’t remember, I have heard about it, but I don’t know who said it on behalf of BJP, ‘even if this is passed, when we come to power, we will reverse it.’ It will be very disappointing. But that’s not important, that’s just a way of putting it, that’s politics.
Congress says BJP is being optimistic, many of these things they had started, they had brought in and so they are being opportunistic. BJP says Congress doesn’t meet us more than half way or even half way, they don’t talk to us, they treat us as dirt, they are arrogant, so we are not going to cooperate. They are openly saying that.
Privately, individually, they are friendly to each other. The moment you are talking policy on behalf of your party or the government, they talk like this. Yesterday, in the World Economic Forum meeting, I pleaded, like I have done for last year or two, all parties may not be onboard, there are ideological differences like with the Left and some others, but BJP and Congress, not on Hindutva, not on pseudo-secularism or whatever you may call it, but on economic matters, by and large, whether it’s Arun Jaitley or Sushma Swaraj are in agreement with the views of this government. I am not saying everyone. I cant speak for them. That’s my perception. I hold people like Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley in very high regard. So, I can only plead to the Congress and the BJP that each meets the other more than halfway in the interest of the nation.