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GST deadlock: Congress goes into huddle over Parliament strategy

The government had on Friday reached out to Congress to seek its support for the passage of the GST Bill which has been pending for a long time.

india Updated: Jul 17, 2016 02:43 IST
HT Correspondent
The government had on Friday reached out to Congress to seek its support for the passage of the GST Bill which has been pending for a long time.
The government had on Friday reached out to Congress to seek its support for the passage of the GST Bill which has been pending for a long time. (PTI File Photo)

Remaining ambivalent on the GST question, the Congress on Saturday blamed the ruling NDA for the stalemate and said it was for the Centre to work out a consensus on the proposed legislation. “The GST was conceived by us. We support the legislation but have our concerns,” party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

Amidst suggestions that the Congress was softening its stand on the GST in the backdrop of the support extended to the proposed legislation by regional parties, senior party leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia, went into a huddle with party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday.

“It was decided that the federalism debate – in the backdrop of the Arunachal and Uttarkhand developments – will certainly be raised during Parliament’s monsoon session along with other matters such as the “ government’s mishandling” of the Kashmir situation.

“But a firm view on the GST question has not been formulated,” sources said.

The government had on Friday reached out to Congress to seek its support for the passage of the GST Bill which has been pending for a long time.

Sources said Congress leaders would hold wider consultations on the amendments it has proposed to the GST bill on Monday, ahead of their scheduled meeting with finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday.

“The people of this country are already over-burdened with 15% service tax and other forms of cess imposed by the NDA government in the last two years. The income tax slab is nearly 30%. In such a background, to impose a heavy taxation through GST is not appropriate,” Surjewala said.

Amendments proposed by the Congress include the precondition of fixing an 18% cap and providing for adjudication of disputes through a third party arbitrator.