The bitter war of words between the top leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and the Congress top brass, in and outside Parliament, clearly shows nobody is serious about the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, or for that matter any reform legislation.
This being the case, both the sides are just using the GST Bill to play the game of political one-upmanship for now.
PM Narendra Modi’s invitation to the Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh ahead of the winter session did raise a glimmer of hope about some forward movement in breaking the Parliamentary logjam, but with each passing day, it is getting clearer that both the sides were just playing to the galleries.
The National Herald case, in which Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi have to appear in a Delhi Court on December 19, has shown how difficult it is for both the BJP and the Congress to work together even on passing the crucial legislations pending before Parliament.
FM Arun Jaitley’s latest Facebook post crying foul, therefore, needs to be seen in this backdrop.
If the last session didn’t function, and the current session is also on the verge of a washout, both the sides have to be blamed for this, and FM Jaitley saying, “The nation is waiting for Parliament to discuss public issues, to legislate and approve a historic Constitution Amendment enabling the GST. All this is being indefinitely delayed,” hardly means anything here.
There is no doubt that Congress party is facing the threat of getting isolated in Parliament and needs to correct its course, but till the time BJP remains entangled with it in the game of political one-upmanship, there will always be a question mark on its own willingness to bring in the GST.
The quote of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru delivered on 28th March, 1957, the last day of the First Lok Sabha, which FM Jaitley has mentioned in his Facebook post, will not be of any help till public spats from both sides are stopped.
FM Jaitley has quoted Pandit Nehru as saying in his speech: “Here, we have sat in this Parliament, the sovereign authority of India, responsible for the governance of India. Surely, there can be no higher responsibility or greater privilege than to be a member of this sovereign body which is responsible for the fate of the vast number of human beings who live in this country. All of us, if not always, at any rate from time to time, must have felt this high sense of responsibility and destiny to which we had been called. Whether we were worthy of it or not is another matter. We have functioned, therefore, during these five years not only on the edge of history but sometimes plunging into the processes of making history.”
This can’t happen till both the BJP and Congress political leadership learn to differentiate between electoral politics and parliamentary responsibilities.
If the ruling NDA dispensation is not able to find ways to successfully complete its parliamentary duties, it must look within also and do some hard introspection if it wants to save future Parliament sessions from washouts in terms of legislative work.