While asserting that 30 of the 32 political parties represented in Parliament were prepared to back the GST Bill, the government Thursday made it clear that it would like to pass the constitutional amendment only after getting the Congress on board.
“We want to take the Congress along,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said, while pointing out that the Congress had supported the Bill in the Lok Sabha earlier. He claimed that 30 parties had told him that they wanted the bill cleared “as soon as possible.”
Asked if the bill would come up in the Upper House next week, Naidu said that it was for the Business Advisory Committee to take a call, but it was clear that the public mood was “almost one-sided in favour of the GST Bill”.
Naidu said he and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had already discussed the bill and other issues with Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and and Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge after the all-party meeting Wednesday. They had promised to revert to them after two days after discussing the matter with Congress leadership. The country, according to Naidu, needed “collaborative politics” and not confrontationist politics.
The minister refused to take a definitive position on the Congress’s suggestions on the GST Bill, saying such postures only created complications. At the same time, he ruled out any “compromise on the basic purpose for bringing the GST Bill”.