Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 13
Ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament starting November 26, the opposition Congress today indicated its willingness to do business with the government on matters of national interest, including on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill that has been awaiting the Rajya Sabha’s approval.
Top sources in the Congress said “there was room for a compromise on the GST Bill” and there was a possibility of thrashing out the genuine concerns the principal opposition had to the crucial tax reform legislation.
“Unlike the land Bill where we had decided that there would be no compromise, there is room for a compromise on the GST Bill. We have concerns which can be talked out. But the government cannot continue to humiliate our leaders and expect us to have a meaningful conversation. The government must approach the Opposition with the respect it deserves,” said a top Congress leader a few days after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley openly said he was willing to speak with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to get the GST Bill through.
The Congress’ stand on the GST in terms of its willingness to have a dialogue on the issue comes close on the heels of the ruling BJP suffering a humiliating defeat in Bihar. Asked whether the Congress won’t use the spectacular Bihar victory of the grand alliance of which it was a part to further corner the government on the GST Bill, a top party leader said, “We understand there are certain issues that are in national interest and on those we are ready to talk. The government must, however, first shed its confrontational approach. They cannot expect to talk to us by muzzling the voice of the Opposition in Parliament and they now know this well.”
The Congress is also preparing to initiate a discussion in Parliament on the issue of intolerance in the wake of several
intellectuals returning their awards to protest recent communal incidents, including the Dadri incident. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has already said the government was willing to discuss the issue.
The Congress however made it clear that it would do business with the government provided the government, led by PM Narendra Modi, approached its leaders with a position of mutual respect rather than confrontation.
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