A day after the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly passed a resolution to implement the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the state, overriding resistance from the Opposition, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the PDP-BJP government should have adopted the route of consensus instead of confrontation, especially at a time when “Kashmir is burning”.
“Kashmir is burning… At such a time, the government should have tried at their own level to accommodate the opposition viewpoint…People like Abdul Rahim Rather, who was finance minister in the previous government and former chairman of the Empowered Committee of state FMs on GST…they are well aware about the sentiments and the issues involved. It is not that they are naive. The Opposition knew what to suggest and what not to, and what is in the interest of the state,” Azad, who is Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, told The Indian Express.
The resolution was passed Wednesday with Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu saying that constitutional safeguards would be put in place to protect the special status of the state. Azad added: “It would have been in the interest of both the state and the Centre to take suggestions of the opposition parties on board…instead of using their majority and the marshals to impose their views.”
“They could have found a way and had a consensus. Instead of choosing the route of consensus, they chose the route of confrontation,” he said. Asked about GST implementation in J&K, former finance minister told reporters at an AICC briefing: “That is a more complex issue. There is an Article 370. And I think the government has to work with the J&K government and impress upon them that without diluting the Article 370, it is possible to implement GST in J&K. I think this requires discussion rather than acrimony.”