New Delhi: Congress on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of committing contempt of Parliament by not being present in either Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha during the passage of the GST Bill.
“It is a matter of lament that the Prime Minister could not spare even five minutes to be present during the passage of the legislation which he had labelled as one of the most progressive and revolutionary,” party spokesman Jairam Ramesh said.
“The Prime Minister was not on a foreign tour. He was sitting in his office in Parliament. It is a contempt of Parliament,” he said.
Ramesh said that this was the first occasion in independent India that the Prime Minister was not present while passage of a Constitution amendment bill. Holding that Modi had hailed the Constitution as his Bhagvad Gita, he took a dig at the Prime Minister for remaining absent when the 19th chapter of the ‘Gita’ was being written.
“The PM could tweet about GST, but couldn’t be present in Rajya Sabha. Parliament appeared to be PM-mukt”, he said, noting that Modi was not present in Lok Sabha when the GST bill was passed last year.
Ramesh suggested that Prime Minister could have deliberately stayed away from Parliament given the fact that earlier as Gujarat Chief Minister, he had opposed GST for three years. He made a strong pitch that CGST and IGST bills being brought in the winter session should be treated as financial bills and not as money bills, saying that all opposition parties are favouring such a course.
“We suspect that the government could bring both the bills as money bills so that there is no debate in Rajya Sabha” where it does not have a majority, he said.
“Congress wants a GST which will benefit the common man. If the GST rate is about 18 per cent, it will have an impact on inflation,” he said.