Congress wants an 18% cap on tax in the constitutional amendment bill and dropping of the one per cent tax proposed on inter-state sales.
Courtesy: Priya Saraf
NCP and BJD on Friday made a strong pitch for the passing of GST bill while Congress stuck to its demand for changes in the key reform measure even as it hailed as “good beginning” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s informal interaction with Sonia Gandhi on the issue few days back.While NCP’s Supriya Sule and BJD’s Jay Panda were critical of Congress for “blocking” legislations like GST, the main opposition party’s chief whip Jyotiraditya Scindia put the blame for the logjam on the issue on the government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress wants an 18% cap on tax in the constitutional amendment bill and dropping of the one per cent tax proposed on inter-state sales.Another demand of Congress is for having a dispute settlement mechanism in the bill. The UPA government’s original bill had proposed setting up of a GST Dispute Settlement Authority.Speaking at the HT Leadership summit, Scindia said that the present GST bill does not represent the original bill brought by the UPA and made a strong pitch for having an independent neutral third party to decide disputes.Sule and Panda said that while the Opposition have to play its role, it does mean it should always be “blocking” legislations.Panda told Scindia that while he supports Congress demand that one per cent tax should go but expressed disagreement with the demand the 18% cap should be enshrined in the Constitution.Supporting Panda, Sule said this has been happening in Parliament for some time and the effort has been “just blocking the legislation”. “We want the GST. We can work on this one per cent.”Scindia, however, said that it’s not about a legislation being blocked.”It’s about the government reaching out. Until some recent results came out, they had no conversation with the Congress in last 18 months. Till now the attitude was my way or highway. But there has been a change. I do hope that this change remains. It takes two hands to clap,” he said.During the interaction, Scindia repeatedly targetted the government on alleged intolerance while Panda felt that selectively picking up incidents from one particularly period and leaving those from ones’ own is “intellectual dishonesty”.Sule felt that the use of the word “intolerance” is negative.The hour-long interaction also saw a debate on dynasty politics. Scindia found nothing wrong in a politician’s son entering politics but parried a question on why Congress’s Prime Minsterial candiate should be only Rahul Gandhi and anybody else including Scindia himself, saying such decisions must be left with the party concerned. On the V K Singh controversy in Parliament, Scindia attacked him for his tweet about “game of cat and mouse” in Rajya Sabha while Panda said there have been Cabinet Ministers even in previous governments, who had made controversial remarks about women.Panda also felt that the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he has not spoken out on incidents of alleged intoerance is “not correct”. “He has spoken about it enough in Parliament and outside,” the BJD leader said.Scindia said that it is “legitimate” for the country to raise the issue of V K Singh’s remarks on the killing of Dalits if “such derogratory remarks” were made by a Minister.”We will support the government when it brings progressive bills,” he said insisting that the Congress will at the same time play the role of a watchful opposition.Sule disagreed with perceptions that her party is “tilting towards the new regime”. All the three leaders named Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as good minister in the Modi cabinet.