National Herald case: Congress, government confrontation casts shadow on GST bill
The escalation of confrontation between the Congress and the government over “political vendetta”, following decision of a court to summon its leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on a complaint of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, appears to have caused uncertainty on the fate of the crucial GST bill.
New Delhi: The escalation of confrontation between the Congress and the government over “political vendetta”, following decision of a court to summon its leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on a complaint of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, appears to have caused uncertainty on the fate of the crucial GST bill.
The Goods and Services Tax Bill is on the list of government business in the Rajya Sabha during the week but the developments following court decision in National Herald case appear to have created hurdles for the government in getting Congress support for the long-pending bill.
The Congress members had forced repeated adjournments of both houses on Tuesday against “political vendetta” of the government. The Rajya Sabha again witnessed repeated adjournments on Wednesday.
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Outside parliament, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi alleged that the political vendetta was coming out of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi Office.
There has been hope in the government of finding an amicable solution to stalemate over the GST bill following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh last month.
Congress also appeared to be showing signs of flexibility on its demands which include a cap on the GST rate at 18 percent, deletion of the provision which allows imposition of one percent tax by additional levy and an independent dispute resolution mechanism.
The GST bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha but is stuck in the Rajya Sabha as the government lacks majority in the upper house.
There was talk by senior Congress leaders of a second meeting with the government to arrive at a decision the on the bill which intends to simplify indirect tax regime in the country, broaden the tax base and result in better tax compliance due to a robust IT infrastructure.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal told reporters on Tuesday that the party would like to pass it. He said the party had conveyed its concerns on the bill. “In the days to come we will negotiate,” he said.
There has been a view in the party that it should not be seen as “obstructionist” to the passage of the bill.
The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed the plea of the Gandhis to quash the summons issued to them by a trial court on Swamy's complaint regarding the acquisition of National Herald and asked them to appear before trial court on Tuesday. The trial court on Tuesday asked them to appear before it on December 19.