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BJP under pressure from RSS to block GST Bill: Congress

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Hitting out at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for claiming that the grand old party was trying to paralyse the nation by blocking the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, the Congress on Saturday said that the former’s assertion was ‘preposterous’ and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of not wanting to pass the Bill due to the pressure by the RSS.

“The Finance Minister’s assertion on the GST is preposterous and we reject it with the contempt it deserves. Jaitley would remember that it was Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh who has pointed out three constructive suggestions to make the GST Bill effective,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told ANI.

Defending the demands by the Congress, Surjewala said there was nothing wrong in wanting 18 percent constitutional cap on taxation and that it was unfair to the common man to pay 30-40 percent tax.

“We have been saying to keep the tax bracket at 18 percent with a constitutional cap. Why should the GST rate not be same across the states? Why goods manufacturing states should be permitted extra tax? And if there is a dispute between an individual and a state, then why should the state be the judge and not have a third party judicial mechanism instead?” Surjewala said.

Asserting pressure by the RSS as the real reason behind the BJP not wanting to pass the landmark Bill, he added that RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat had warned ‘Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Finance Minister’ to not pass the bill.

“The RSS has warned the BJP to not pass the GST Bill since they have opposed the Bill in the past, so Jaitley wants to shift the blame on the Congress while dichotomy and differences lie within BJP and RSS,” Surjewala added.

Earlier, Former union minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram told ANI that the Congress Party was very keen to see the GST Bill being passed in Parliament, but only after every “flawed” element in it is removed, or at least addressed in manner that satisfies all parties.

Chidambaram also dismissed suggestions that Congress is deliberately using the National Herald case to block passage of GST Bill.

“GST issue is not linked to Herald case. I have made it clear that National Herald case has got nothing to do with what is happening in Parliament. Why on a particular day the Parliament is not working or is working, I cannot say. But I am clear that it is not because of the National Herald case. Because there are various other issues that are raised from time to time, for example, for a couple of days, it was the Dalit issue and Retired General V K Singh’s comment on the Dalits. We are waiting for the government to revert on our proposals over the bill. I remain hopeful that GCT will be passed. No one is keener to have GST passed than me,” Chidambaram said. (ANI)