Opposition noncommittal on GST bill


Opposition parties are keeping the government on tenterhooks on backing the controversial GST bill at a time when the government managers are indicating of reconvening the Parliament session next month for the purpose.

While the main Opposition Congress on Monday remained noncommittal on supporting the GST bill unconditionally, the AIADMK, which has been maintaining distance from the anti-NDA parties in Parliament, has not modified its stand on it so far.

Besides the Congress, the Left, JD(U) and the RJD do not want to be friendly with the government on this issue before the Bihar polls. The Trinamul Congress, BJD, Samajwadi Party, NCP and others may back the bill on the floor but it will not pass without the Congress’ support in the Rajya Sabha.

In fact, the Congress (68), JD-U (12), Left (10), DMK (4) and the RJD (1) are noncommittal on supporting the constitution amendment bill. Their total strength in the Upper House is 95. Moreover, the stand of the BSP (10) on this issue is yet become clear.

Although the BJP ministers and leaders are competing with each other in branding the Congress “anti-reforms” and “anti-GST bill”, the Sonia Gandhi-led party has reminded them that the Congress is the author of this bill and the BJP had opposed for many years due to pressure from the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

Meanwhile, accusing the BJP-led government of being in a “perpetual mode of confrontation”, the Congress on Monday said that talk of a special session of Parliament was “not going to be viable” unless there was a change in its mindset.

Even as the Centre has announced that the controversial land ordinance, a bone of contention with the Opposition, would not be repromulgated, the Congress said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise to the nation as he has “wasted 10 months of development” by enacting the ordinance.

The Congress also warned the Prime Minister against using agencies of the government to target the Opposition and hoped that details of such alleged “abuse” would tumble out soon.

Speaking to reporters here, senior party spokesman Anand Sharma said that the Opposition would not be cowed down by such tactics. Cases by the CBI against former Congress chief ministers and ministers are “not accidental”, he said without elaborating.

The CBI recently filed cases against former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and state PCC chief Sachin Pilot in an ambulance scam in which Karthi, son of former finance minister P. Chidambaram, too is an accused.

On the land bill, Mr Sharma said, “Where was the PM’s concern for farmers when his government enacted the ordinance to change the UPA Land Act not one, not two, but three times.”

Talking about the prospects of a special session of Parliament, he squarely blamed the government for “not engaging with the opposition in any constructive manner nor giving any meaningful proposals to end the deadlock”.

“Even now, the government’s attitude is one of confrontation… It is in a perpetual mode of confrontation”, he said, adding that unless there was a change of mindset, talk of a special session was “not going to be viable”.

Source: http://www.asianage.com/india/opposition-noncommittal-gst-bill-955

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