Congress to walk a tightrope on GST

Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge  

The Congress finds the GST Bills “unacceptable”, but does not want to be seen as opposed to the tax reform.

At a strategy meeting here on Tuesday, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi told MPs to play the role of a constructive opposition and not be seen as being against the GST laws.

Senior MPs at the meeting too stressed that the Congress should not be seen as the one opposing the tax reform legislation as it was during the tenure of the UPA government that the GST Bill was initiated to simplify the tax structure.

However, it was also decided that the concerns of the public on the GST Bills must be raised, the loopholes plugged, and the necessary amendments sought.

Mr. Gandhi also told the members to raise the issue of farmers' distress and press for a farm loan waiver across the country in Parliament.

The half-an-hour long meeting was attended by Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.

Changes not addressed

But while routine parliamentary issues were discussed, Mr Gandhi reportedly refrained even after the meeting from speaking on the big picture issues related to the promised structural changes that are required to be carried out and the reorganisation of the Congress needed in the wake of the party’s abysmal showing in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

At the party’s official briefing, party spokesperson and MP Gaurav Gogoi spoke of the manner in which the Modi government was “dismantling the checks and balances of democracy”.

Mr. Gogoi said, for instance, that though presidential assent for the Lokpal Bill came in August 2014, the government had not yet appointed a Lokpal, saying the law mandated that one of the panel members should be the Leader of the Opposition, and right now there was none — only the Congress Leader in the Lok Sabha.

Mr Gogoi pointed out that a similar problem had arisen in the case of the Delhi Police Special Establishment Act, but that the government had just amended the Act to allow for either the Leader of the Opposition or leader of the largest opposition party to be a member of the panel concerned.

“The appointment of a Lokpal would ensure that all political parties would be under scrutiny,” he said, adding, “now, the BJP leaders only go to RSS offices for scrutiny.”

The Whistleblowers Bill — intended to check misuse of power — has been diluted, vital posts in the Commissions for Scheduled Castes, OBC and minorities are vacant, he said. And similar is the case for the Commissions for Safai Karamcharis and Human Rights, he added.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 12:19:08 PM |

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