The Congress Party on Saturday launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the Goods and Services Tax
(GST) Bill issue, saying those who were against the legislation during the UPA rule were now desperate to pass it.
Congress leader Manish Tewari recalled that the GST Bill was stalled for five years by the same BJP when the UPA was in office.
“It was primarily because they wanted a criminal case against one of their important leaders to be withdrawn. And it was said by former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in February 2011 in an interaction with the members of the electronic media,” Tewari told ANI.
“At that point of time, these people never thought that economy of the country is a priority. Suddenly, they have woken up to the fact that economy of the country is a priority,” he added.
Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad on his part said that Prime Minister Modi and Jaitley, who were the two most vocal opponents of the GST Bill during the UPA regime, were now pleading with everyone to pass it.
“During UPA govt the two most vocal opponents of the GST were Mr Narendra Modi&Mr Arun Jaitly. Now they r pleading with everyone to pass it,” he tweeted.
Another Congress leader Pramod Tiwari asserted that the opposition would give its nod to the GST Bill only if it is in the benefit of the people.
“GST is a bill which was brought by us and therefore we would be thinking about it for sure. We will go by it if they have kept it in the benefit of the people,” Tiwari told ANI.
In a move intended to break the deadlock over the bill, the Prime Minister had yesterday invited Congress president Sonia Gandhi and his predecessor Manmohan Singh over tea, highlighting the need for consensual approach in the smooth functioning of the Parliament.
However, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi asserted that Prime Minister Modi had invited the opposition top brass under ‘public pressure’ as it was quite contrary to his regular style of functioning.
Talking about the impasse over the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, he added that the Congress was clear on its position and had three differences with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He added that there would be further progress on the landmark reform only after the government fulfils the demands put forth by the Congress.
The three demands by Congress over the Bill are that they want to cap the rate of GST at less than 20 percent, scrap a proposed state levy and create an independent mechanism to resolve disputes on revenue sharing between states.