Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the party “strongly” believes in Goods and Service Tax (GST), but the government should reach out to the Opposition on certain issues.
Mr. Gandhi outlined the party’s stand on the contentious GST Bill even as he made an all-round attack on the Modi government calling it “much worse” than “ suit-boot-ki-sarkar .”
The NDA government is keen to push key reforms legislations like the stalled GST Bill in the winter session.
‘Strongly believe in GST’
When asked about the GST, which is hanging fire for the last several years, Mr. Gandhi said, “we strongly believe in GST.”
He said the GST and other Bills were “very important” but the government’s approach has to be one of reaching out to the Opposition.
Speaking to reporters later, Gandhi said the Congress would raise in Parliament the issues of “rising intolerance”, which was “very disturbing”, GST and also Prime Minister’s “silence” on various issues.
Questioned why the GST bill was being stalled, he said it was Congress which brought it forward and “...we are for GST...we support GST...”
But, he noted, the Bharatiya Janata Party had opposed it and blocked it for three years with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, then in the Opposition, even justifying blocking Parliament as a strategy.
Mr. Gandhi said there were three differences between the BJP and Congress on GST. They related to cap on tax to be charged, dispute resolution and one per cent tax on inter-State sales (doing away with it).
Attacking the Modi government for not having “conversation” with the Opposition, he said the Prime Minister had not even once picked up phone and spoken to any Congress leader.
On ‘rising intolerance’
Fielding questions on a wide range of issues during an interaction with students of a women’s college here, Mr. Gandhi also spoke on the “rising intolerance”, saying it “disturbs” him as an Indian, highlighting that “live and let live” was the country’s biggest strength.
The interaction was the first in the series of Mr. Gandhi’s outreach to the students across campuses in the country. Targeting Mr. Modi’s style of functioning, he said there were very few people with decision-making powers at the Centre.
“...one man can’t have all the answers...,” he said, adding that a dialogue process was important.