Winter Session a ‘washout’? Hopes of passage of GST Bill in Parliament recedes

New Delhi :Hopes of an agreement on the GST Bill apperared to fade despite talks between the government and the Congress today even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley apprehended a “wash out” of the current Winter session.

The deadlock continued on the Constitution amendment bill to provide for a uniform Goods and Services Tax after inconclusive talks between Jaitley and Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma with the party making it clear that the engagement cannot be restricted to only one issue.

With just seven days left from today for the winter session, Jaitley and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu hosted a lunch for the Congress leaders along with Chief Whip in Lok Sabha Jyotiraditya Scindia. Jaitley himself described the talks as a “non meeting”.

Citing the absence of Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, who was not in Delhi, the Congress leaders sought another meeting, which was readily accepted by the government, which is to keen to break the logjam.

“Today’s talks remain inconclusive. It is a work in progress. There was no structured discussion today,” Sharma said noting that it was the first such meeting after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He insisted, “Engagement between Government and Opposition cannot be restricted to one issue. After not engaging Opposition for 18 months, Government is desperate to discuss with us just one bill. First they should not be over-obsessed with one bill as other important legislations are also pending.”

Meanwhile, Jaitlery today apprehended a “wash out” of the current Winter session and attacked Congress over the disruption.

He invoked Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru to remind Congress of the responsibility of MPs for governance of the country through Parliament.

“The last session of the Parliament did not function.The current session of the Parliament is also threatened with a wash out. The reasons for the wash out of the current session keep changing by the hour.

“The nation is waiting for Parliament to discuss public issues, to legislate and approve a historic Constitution Amendment enabling the GST. All this is being indefinitely delayed. The question we need to ask ourselves is are we being fair to ourselves and this country?” Jaitley said in a Facebook post.