The GST Bill is heading for yet another disappointing outing in Parliament as the BJP and Congress battle it out over the National Herald case, which has engulfed both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
The GST Bill is heading for yet another disappointing outing in Parliament as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress battle it out over the National Herald case, which has engulfed both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. In this battle of nerves, the GST Bill’s fate is hanging in balance after appearing so close to turning into a reality after PM Narendra Modi and Cong prez, along with former PM Manmohan Singh, held a meeting at 7, Race Course Road. Here are top 10 points to ponder over the GST Bill and its ‘links’ to the National Herald case and the current state of affairs over the issue in Parliament:
1. The main opposition Congress has rejected the charge that it was blocking the GST Bill because of the court summons to party president Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case
2. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) insists that the Congress party is deliberately torpedoing the GST Bill as its top brass has received court summons in the National herald case. In short, indicating that there is a link between the two developments.
3. Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, however, said the ruling party was making a “bizarre link” and insisted the Congress has raised “genuine concerns” on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill.
4. Congress party says it rues the fact that the opposition party has not received the ‘revised formulation’ on the GST Bill by the government after the party conveyed its suggestions to it. Jaitley, however, contested Congress’ remarks, saying the government had communicated its response to “responsible leaders” of that party. “I am not responsible for communication gap in that party,” he said.
5. FM Arun Jaitley said that the three suggestions that have come from Congress now were ‘contrary to’ what P Chidambaram and his predecessor in Finance Ministry Pranab Mukherjee had proposed.
6. However, Arun Jaitley rushed to emphasise that the ruling NDA was willing to find a mutually acceptable solution, sayings even on those three points “there is some meeting ground”, which the government has conveyed to Congress. “These issues can be overcome provided there is willingness from Congress party to honestly support the GST,” Jaitley added.
7. Arun Jaitley rejected suggestions that the government had any role in the National Herald issue, saying neither Enforcement Directorate (ED) nor Income Tax department had taken any punitive action so far. Jaitley also said the government was not a party to the dispute.
8. Bolstering the Congress case against ‘vendetta politics’, P Chidambaram flagged the ‘suspicion’ and recalled that after BJP came to power, the ED conducted a preliminary enquiry and closed the matter, saying ‘no case’ existed. “The ED (director) was abruptly transferred and the case was re-opened. That answers the question why there is suspicion about the BJP’s motive…It (the issue) came to Parliament because the BJP did not remain neutral on this…that triggers a suspicion,” he said.
9. Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi went into a huddle with senior party leaders at her 10, Janpath residence to chalk out the party’s strategy in Parliament. Among those present in the meeting were Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and party’s deputy leader in the House Anand Sharma. However, the meeting is not expected to change course of Congress action in Parliament.
10. “I wish and pray that the GST (issue) is delinked (from the National Herald case),” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said when asked whether he sees any link between the two issues.