After Arun Jaitley’s Facebook Attack on GST, a Congress Riposte on Twitter

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NEW DELHI:  The Congress’ Digvijaya Singh has taken on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Twitter this morning for the latter’s Facebook post slamming the Congress for disruptions in Parliament that have held up the Goods and Services Tax or GST bill.

The Finance Minister in his Sunday post made a point-wise rebuttal of a Congress dissent note to a parliamentary committee on GST, and said the opposition party’s “obstructionist tendencies inflict an economic injury on the country.” He accused the Congress of stalling a tax reform that it had first proposed when in government, and said the “BJP government has not made any significant modifications to the same.”

On Monday morning, Digvijaya Singh tweeted that Mr Jaitley had not explained “why the BJP didn’t allow the Bill to be passed from 2006 to 2014?,” and also, “Because Arun Jaitley then believed Obstructionism is a legitimate Parliamentary Practice. Another major U Turn & major Political Opportunism.”

While disrupting the monsoon session of Parliament over its demand for the resignation of three top BJP leaders, the Congress has repeatedly asserted that it is but following the precedent set by the BJP when it was in the opposition.

Only nine days of the session are now left and no significant legislative work has been done. There are at least 11 key bills awaiting Parliament’s consideration, the most crucial among them legislation for a constitutional amendment to give effect to the GST, which seeks to simplify the tax system by unifying most indirect taxes of the central and state governments.

“Since Parliament is not functioning and there is no way to clarify these points before the same, I am constrained to place the above facts in public domain,” the Finance Minister wrote in his Facebook post – “Dissent or Disruption – The Congress Party’s Position on GST”.

The government is worried that if it is unable to pass the GST Bill in this session, it will not be able to implement it on schedule by April 2016. It has invited 15 parties for a meeting today to try and break the logjam in Parliament.

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