In the absence of a consensus over implementation of Goods and Services Tax, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday met BJP top brass seeking their support to the measure for uniform taxation across the country.
At a luncheon meeting, Mukherjee is understood to have asked BJP Parliamentary Party head L K Advani, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley to convince the eight states where it is in power or is part of an NDA government to give their nod for implementation of GST.
The union government aims to bring GST into force from April 1, 2011 to ensure a uniform tax across the country which would subsume excise, service and other local taxes.
Though, in principle, the BJP is in favour of GST some of the states where the party is in power are opposed to it.
"This is not a party specific issue. Those states which are high on production but low on consumption would incur a loss if GST is implemented and so they are opposed to it. This includes some of the Congress ruled states also," a senior BJP leader said.
Advani also brought up the issue of withdrawal of special industrial package to Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
Senior BJP leaders had called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently to make this demand. Singh had said he would discuss the matter with Mukherjee.
BJP sources said Advani raised this issue with Mukherjee to know what if any progress had been made on it.
"Both these hilly states do not have industries. As such defence forces and paramilitary are the only two options left for the youth. The industrial package, which was given for 10 years, had ensured that new industries came up in the state and provided employment," a senior leader said.
The package was withdrawn after seven years, mainly because all the states have to be on par for implemention of GST, according to sources.