The Congress has decided not to engage with the ruling BJP on the contentious Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill until the issue of “intolerance” is debated in Parliament from Monday.
The decision to loosen up its demands or resist the Bill will depend on whether the Congress will come out looking good from the “intolerance” debate, a senior leader told The Hindu .
The Congress’s demands are that the tax cap be fixed at 18 per cent, the 1 per cent inter-State cess be scrapped and independent accountability be ensured. “The debate on intolerance will be crucial, and it has a potential to break whatever little [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi achieved at his meeting with our president [Sonia Gandhi],” he said.
A Congress source said some “experienced leaders” had urged caution arguing that since the ruling parties of the “consumer States” were willing to back the Bill, the Congress might lose their support in Parliament, and its influence as the leading party of the Opposition. It was the fear of isolation that pushed Manmohan Singh to engage with the BJP and “act as a bridge” between Mr. Modi and Ms. Gandhi.