Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government for giving up on the long-delayed Goods and Services Tax (GST) reform, saying, “now the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh) doesn’t want GST anymore”.
Speaking to select journalists here, Gandhi said, “We will give them GST in five minutes if the government accepts the Congress preconditions.”
GST, a key indirect tax reform aimed at creating uniform tax rate across the country, has been mired in a political and parliamentary stand-off between the ruling NDA and the opposition Congress.
Gandhi made the GST remark while aggressively panning the Modi government’s performance on both domestic and foreign policy fronts. He charged prime minister with “practicing an event management-type polity”.“People get taken in by his hype and the government gets away with it”, he said.
“Things they (the NDA rule) are very good at is catching eyeballs by managing events” he said, mockingly labelling Modi’s flagship initiatives like Swachh Bharat, Stand up India, Make in India as “false promises but well-executed events”.
Gandhi, however, accepted, in a serious tone, that the Congress was also learning from the BJP’s idea of politics as an event and marketing exercise. “Unfortunately, that’s what politics has become… even in the US, and to certain extent it works” he said. To buttress his point, Gandhi quoted the example of the Aadhaar scheme: “We laid the policy foundation, but couldn’t market it.” Accusing the Modi government of moving from one event to another without delivering results, he said the prime minister’s foreign policy on Pakistan was an example of short-sightedness.