On the eve of Winter session of Parliament, Rahul Gandhi today said Congress “strongly” believed in GST, but government should reach out to the Opposition on certain issues, including the cap on rate.
The Congress vice president outlined the party’s stand on the contentious Goods and Service Tax(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.
Fielding questions on a wide range of issues during an interaction with students of a women’s college here, Gandhi also spoke on the “rising intolerance”, saying it “disturbs” him as an Indian, higlighting that “live and let live” was the country’s biggest strength.
Targeting Narendra Modi, Gandhi said he believes the country could be run from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and that he alone could transform the country.
The interaction was the first in the series of Gandhi’s outreach to the students across the campuses in the country.
Targetting Modi’s style of functioning, Gandhi said there were very few people with decision making powers at the Centre and “one man decides evey single decision.”
“…One man can’t have all the answers…,” he said, adding dialogue was very important.
Asked about GST, which is hanging fire for the last several years, Gandhi said, “we strongly believe in GST.”
He said 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 BJP 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.
Gandhi said there were three differences between 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).
He said government had to accept the fact that Congress “sits in Parliament”, “Congress has a view” and “Congress has 20 per cent hope” (referring to the people’s mandate).
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, which his predecessor Manmohan Singh used to do.