Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to the Opposition on Sunday to ensure passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament while urging all parties to keep the national interest above all issues.
“The issue is not which government gets the credit, important bills including GST need to be taken up in the monsoon session. All of us represent both the people and parties and let’s keep national interests above everything else,” he said.
The Prime Minister also thanked all the political parties for speaking in one voice on the events in Kashmir.
At the meeting, leaders of several opposition parties spoke of developments in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, signalling their intent to train guns on the government, with Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad saying states no longer trusted the BJP-led government at the Centre.
Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar told reporters after the two-hour meeting the government will talk to all parties to evolve a consensus on the GST. “Our legislative business, including GST, is a priority. We want to see to that we pass the GST bill with consensus. We are going to take every party on board,” he said.
Kumar downplayed the attacks of the Congress, the Left and other parties on the government over the Arunachal issue, saying different issues can be debated.
“We have assured all parties that there will be open-mindedness and we are ready to discuss all issues,” he said.
Speaking to reporters, Azad accused the government of “using all tricks” to destabilise Opposition-ruled governments and took potshots at Modi over his talk of cooperation between the Centre and states by pointing out that even a BJP ally like Akali Dal has attacked it over “undermining” states.
Though he did not refer to GST directly, he said the Congress will offer support to bills on merit.
“We have not taken any decision that we have to stop a bill. We will support on merit. We will support any bill which is in support of people, progress and growth,” he said.
The ongoing unrest in Kashmir, inflation and foreign policy was also discussed at the meeting.
The monsoon session of Parliament will have 20 working days and will conclude on the August 12.
A total of 25 bills, including the crucial GST bill, are expected to come up for consideration.