New Delhi: With Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying he was ready to discuss the GST bill with it, Congress on Wednesday struck a discordant note, insisting that Parliamentary democracy “cannot be reduced” to just one bill and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to first shed his “confrontationist” mindset.
Party’s senior spokesman Anand Sharma signalled that the winter session of Parliament, likely to begin by this month-end, could be a smooth affair only if the Prime Minister makes “real effort” to seek constructive engagement with the opposition.
“Parliamentary democracy cannot be reduced to just one bill. The Prime Minister and his government has both arrogance and confrontationist mindset,” he alleged after being asked about Jaitley’s statement.
“They should make a real effort to shed this confrontationst mindset by seeking constructive engagement with the opposition,” Sharma, who is the Deputy leader of the party in the Rajya Sabha, said.
The refrain of Sharma was that a conducive atmosphere cannot be created by the government by constant attacks on the opposition.
“By berating, ridiculing and intimidating them (the opposition) on a daily basis cannot help in creating that atmosphere. It is their call,” Sharma said, adding that success and failure of a Parliament session is the responsibility of the Prime Minister and his government.
Sharma was asked about Jaitley’s remarks that he he would discuss the GST Bill issue with the Congress again to ensure its passage in the Rajya Sabha.
“I am willing to discuss with the Congress party… I have so far discussed with their leaders and I can’t find, at least, conceptual opposition to it. I will once again speak to them and try to make them see reason,” he said.
Jaitley has said that introduction of the goods and services tax (GST), which will replace more than a dozen state levies, is only “a question of time” as obstruction to the reform measure will not stand parliamentary vote.
GST is to be implemented from April 1, 2016. But a Constitution Amendment Bill could not go through the Rajya Sabha in the last session of Parliament due to opposition from the Congress.
The April 1 deadline may be missed if Parliament does not pass the Bill in the upcoming winter session.
Monsoon session of Parliament was a virtual washout in the wake of the Congress demand for the resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in the wake of the Lalit Modi controversy. The opposition also demanded that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan step down in the wake of the Vyapam scam.