Rahul Gandhi
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at Parliament House in New Delhi on May 7, 2015. [Representational Image]IANS

In what seems rather unusual, top foreign investors met Rahul Gandhi, vice-president of the Congress, the main opposition party in the Lok Sabha, to know the GOP's stand on the GST, seen as the single-most important legislation to drive India's economic growth. 

Ahead of the winter session of the Parliament which begins on 26 November, about 20 of the top foreign fund representatives met Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Thursday to know his party's position on the contentious and crucial Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill.

The meeting brings to the fore the concerns among foreign institutional investors (FIIs) about India's ability to embark on reforms to drive growth. They fear that the legislation will once again face the same fate as was witnessed in the previous sessions.

One of the attendees in the meeting, which was held at the request of the foreign investors, said that it was aimed at getting a 'first-hand view' of the party's stand, The Economic Times reported.

Representatives of Capital International, HSBC, Rowe Price, Dutch Pension Fund and Jupiter Capital were among those who had an hour-long meeting with Gandhi.

"It was the Congress party which ushered in liberalisation and first brought the GST Bill. But the party is equally committed to protecting the marginalised, the poor and make sure the security support systems are in place," said a Congress member, who was present at the meeting.

"He (Rahul Gandhi) didn't say that we will stall Parliament. 'The GST Bill is our Bill, we introduced it three years ago...We are not against growth but the present government has to engage with Opposition. They can't take a stand just because they have the numbers'," the person quoted Gandhi as saying.

In the monsoon session of Parliament, the Modi government was forced to delay the landmark GST Bill, after facing strong opposition in the Rajya Sabha, where it does not have a majority.

Doubts over the passage of the key tax bill in the upcoming session have arisen in the wake of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led alliance's defeat in the recently-concluded assembly elections in Bihar.

Some analysts warn that further delay in the passage of key bills could lead to fund outflows from the country.

"Investor patience is running thin and the government needs to push through at least one big-banner reform in the winter session of Parliament to regain confidence," said Taimur Baig and Kaushik Das, economists at Deutsche Bank.

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