Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Friday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh for talks has come after ‘public pressure’.
“It is quite natural that they should talk to the opposition, but the Prime Minister has invited Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh only after public pressure. This was not his intent and this is not the way he functions,” Rahul told reporters in New Delhi.
The Congress vice-president said his party was clear on its position and had three differences with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He added that there would be further progress on the landmark reform only after the government fulfils the demands put forth by the opposition party.
“It is possible the impasse will end after they hear our demands. We brought the GST, it was our initiative and we want it to be passed. But we have our demands with the government which are three main differences. We want a cap on the tax as we don’t want the poor to pay any taxes,” he said.
The government has been determined to push through its reform agenda, including the landmark goods and services tax bill, in the month-long winter session but a belligerent Opposition is planning to corner the ruling coalition on a number of issues, including price rise and the snowballing debate over intolerance.
The Congress has demanded a cap on rate of GST at less than 20%, scrap a proposed state levy and create an independent mechanism to resolve disputes on revenue sharing between states.
Modi has invited Sonia and his predecessor for tea after the adjournment of both Houses of Parliament on Friday, in a move aimed at reaching out to the opposition to discuss the smooth functioning of the Parliament and bring an end to the impasse over the GST bill.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley has said that the PM Modi is willing to speak to everyone to get the landmark indirect tax law through. Jaitley, who needs Parliament approval for the GST bill in the winter session to roll out the new indirect tax regime from planned April 1, said he has spoken to “almost all Congress leaders” on the issue.
“We have absolutely no hesitation even at the level of Prime Minister, we have never had in it in the past, we don’t have it (now). He is willing to speak to everyone,” Jaitley said.
(With ANI inputs)