With Congress party president Sonia Gandhi and former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh set to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence to discuss the GST Bill, Rahul Gandhi has termed the move by PM Modi to invite the two top-most Opposition leaders as the one taken under “public pressure”. The Congress party vice president has off late been criticising Modi government, alleging its “attitude” for the freeze between government and the opposition.
“He should naturally talk to the Opposition. But the talks which are happening with the Congress President and Manmohan Singh ji is due to public pressure. This is not the normal way of transacting business,” Rahul Gandhi told the press pack outside Parliament House.
Early this morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended an invite to Sonia Gandhi and former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh for a meeting over a tea at his 7 RCR official residence. The two leaders are scheduled to meet the PM at 7 PM in the evening.
The incumbent BJP needs to take Congress on board to get the crucial taxation policy — GST – passed in the Parliament so as to roll-it out by April 1, 2016. Though the Bill has already been approved by the Lok Sabha, it is pending in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling BJP-led NDA is facing Congress-led opposition’s protest over some provisions in the Bill.
Speaking further on the issue before the press on Friday, Rahul Gandhi maintained that Congress party was in favour of passage of GST bill but, he stressed, there were differences with the government on three points – cap on the GST rate at 18 percent; deletion of the provision of one percent tax by additional levy; independent mechanism to resolve disputes and disagreements – which the principal opposition party has reportedly termed as “non-negotiable”.
“Our position is very clear and we have three differences with the BJP government. So the talks are on,” Mr. Gandhi said adding, “We had brought in the GST and it is beneficial for the people. We want to pass the GST and cooperate with the government”.
Earlier while interacting with the students of a prestigious college in Bengaluru, Rahul Gandhi had apprised the gathering of Congress party’s stand on the GST.
“Do we want the GST… Are we ready to compromise on GST… Are we ready to talk on GST? Absolutely. Are we going to accept just being thrown aside? No… We want the GST that suits the country and benefits the country and we are ready to have that conversation without a problem,” Rahul Gandhi had said in Bengaluru earlier this week while interacting with the students.
Incidentally, during this interaction he had to face awkward moments before the gathering with some of the students disagreeing with his stated position on government’s schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and Make in India. However, speaking to the press soon after the interacting with students, Gandhi had flayed the Central government once again.
“The central idea of the PM, which I contest I don’t agree with, is that he believes that India can be run through the PMO. He believes that – Narendra Modiji himself will transform India. Don’t believe that,” he had said.
(With inputs from the PTI)