New Delhi, Mar 18 (PTI) Dismissing Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks on GST, Congress today said large sections of the BJP do not want the reform measure and the ruling party just wants to make the Congress the “fall guy” for its non-passage.
“They want to put the blame on to the Congress Party.
Gujarat is against GST, large number of the trading community is against the GST. Many senior leaders of the BJP are against the GST.
“So, it is not clear to me what voice the BJP is speaking with but they are using the Congress Party as a convenient excuse to justify their own inaction,” Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh told reporters here.
Asked about Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks that it would be difficult to accept Congress’ demand to cap GST rate in a Constitution amendment bill pending in Rajya Sabha, Ramesh said even on other two demands there is “no formal communication” from the government and took at the former for communicating his views to the Congress only through social media.
“There were three demands of the Congress Party. I have read the Facebook and the blogs of the Finance Minister, which is the medium he uses for expressing and communicating his views to the Congress Party, out of the three demands that we have made, he seems to be inclined to supporting two of these three demands,” he said.
Ramesh said that as he sees it, Jaitely does not seem to be against accepting the creation of a Dispute Settlement Mechanism which is independent of the GST Council and removal of the additional one percent levy proposed for manufacturing states.
“As I see it, he is not against the idea of the cap but he is opposed to the idea of putting that cap in the Constitution. That is what I can figure from his public statement. So, let us see. If the Government is serious about the GST, about the Constitutional Amendment, it will engage the Congress and its Leadership seriously.
“So far, engagement with the Congress leadership has been half-hearted just to go through the motions and the reason for this,” he said.
“In the Lok Sabha, the Congress walked out, every other party voted in favour. The Congress party has now made a statement that it has only one issue about the Constitutional cap which is a little difficult because our tariff is not decided through Constitution amendment,” Jaitley had said at an event yesterday.
The Congress, the original author of the tax reform, has called the Bill pending in Rajya Sabha as “flawed” and wants the government to cap the GST rate at 18 per cent.