Refuting the ruling BJP’s allegations that the Congress was scuttling the passage of the crucial Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in Parliament, the Congress on Tuesday said it wants the bill passed but the government was not responding to the Opposition’s concerns.
“It is the Congress party that brought the GST. We have raised concerns about a few points in the bill. Once we have a discussion with the government, those issues can be sorted out,” Congress spokesman Tom Vadakkan told IANS.
He said the passage of the GST Bill was in “national interest”.
“We are very much interested in getting the bill passed as it is in national interest. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should come a step forward and we can also move a step forward and there is tremendous room for consensus emerging,” he said, adding: “But then a process of dialogue should start.”
On Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing the Congress of blocking the GST Bill, in a recent interview with a news channel, Vadakkan said that politics should not come ahead of national interests.
“When you bring politics into national interest, that is when the trouble starts. Let us move beyond politics and think about national interest. It is not the Congress party, but the last man in the line who would be benefitted by GST,” Vadakkan said.
Many other opposition parties, too, expressed their willingness to support the GST Bill in Parliament, but complained of lack of dialogue with the government.
“We have a few concerns about the bill such as the rights of states and other issues related to the federal character. And therefore we say that the government should call an all party meeting,” Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M) leader Brinda Karat told IANS.
The CPI-M has been repeatedly asking for an all-party meeting to be convened for a consensus on the GST Bill to emerge.
The Janata Dal United (JD-U) too articulated its support for the bill, but again put the onus of building consensus on the government.
“Most parties want the GST Bill passed. There may be some objections on one or two points. Now it is for the government to build a consensus,” JD-U spokesman Pavan Varma told the media.
“It was the BJP that was opposing it when in opposition,” he remarked.