The Shiv Sena on Monday alleged that the Centre slashed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates on certain items of common consumption to appease voters ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections.
It also claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was against the imposition of a uniform taxation system when he was the chief minister of Gujarat. The Assembly polls in Gujarat are due around the year-end.
“After the axe of demonetisation fell upon the country, the economy never recovered. Then the weapon of GST was used against a sleeping economy and inflation shot up,” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said.
“By slashing the GST rates, the government kept aside its arrogance and bowed down. This is a victory of the people. The people’s wrath had turned into fire (after the implementation of GST). The decision (of slashing GST rates) was taken so that a heavy price for it does not have to be paid in the Gujarat Assembly polls,” it said.
The government’s decision of slashing the GST rates on unbranded ‘khakra’ (a crispy flat bread snack) from 12 to 5 per cent was taken specially keeping in mind the Gujarat polls, the NDA’s ally said.
“Small traders in large numbers had hit the streets in Surat, Rajkot and Ahmedabad against the GST which created an anti-government atmosphere in Gujarat. Thus, the government was forced to slash the rates,” the Sena said.
It claimed that Modi, from the beginning, was of the view that inflation will increase and the economy will be in doldrums if the GST was implemented and that he had vehemently opposed this tax while he was the Gujarat chief minister.
“But after the BJP came to power, the GST was implemented. Modi thereby went back on his words. The decisions like demonetisation and GST implementation have ruined the economy,” the Sena said.
Three months after the roll out of the new indirect tax regime, the GST Council on October 6 had made sweeping changes to give relief to small and medium businesses on filing and payment of taxes, eased rules for exporters and cut tax rates on more than two dozen items.