Congress vs NDA: Fight over Aadhaar Bill likely to hit GST negotiations


The Congress has decided to harden its stand during negotiations with the government on GST and other bills, according to a senior AICC functionary

NEW DELHI: The raging fight between the government and the Congress-led Opposition over the NDA’s decision to have the Aadhaar bill classified as a money bill could jeopardise political negotiations between the two on the GST bill, the Congress leadership has indicated.

Alleging the government had categorised the Aadhaar bill as a money bill to “circumvent legislative scrutiny by the Rajya Sabha”, the Congress has decided to harden its stand during negotiations with the government on GST and other bills, according to a senior AICC functionary. This even as the Congress mobilised a group of Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha to recommend amendments to the Aadhaar bill to force the government to take the bill back to the Lok Sabha before its final clearance.

“The manner in which the government wrongly categorised the Aadhaar bill shows its intention to undercut the Rajya Sabha. This is bound to have serious implications on the government’s negotiations with Opposition on important bills such as GST,” the AICC functionary said.

The Rajya Sabha secretary general had announced in the House on Monday that the Aadhaar bill as passed by the Lok Sabha has been sent to the Upper House and that the Speaker had declared it a money bill. Aware of the Opposition’s numerical superiority, the government is not likely to bring up the bill for discussion in the Upper House in the remaining two days before the recess. Once 14 days lapse, the bill would be deemed passed by the Rajya Sabha. However, the Congress, along with like-minded parties such as the Left, NCP, BSP, JD(U), RJD and DMK are working on a counter-strategy. They say when the minister concerned introduces the bill, they will “recommend amendments to the money bill under Article 109”. According to them, while the Rajya Sabha has no right to discuss and vote for or against a money bill, “rules empower it to recommend amendments”.

“Once we recommend amendments under Article 109, the government has to take back the amended bill to the Lok Sabha which can accept or reject the recommendations,” said a senior Congress MP. Given its numerical strength, the government will be able to have the changes rejected by the Lok Sabha.

But if the Opposition succeeds to recommend amendments to the bill, government may be hardpressed to find time to get the bill re-routed through LS before the second phase of the session. In the Lok Sabha, Congress president Sonia Gandhi oversaw her party reaching out to the BJD and Trinamool to oppose the Aadhaar bill on Monday by arguing it had to wait for the passage of the finance bill.


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