Updated: November 11, 2017 9:02:08 pm
Stepping up his offensive against the central government, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said he would not rest till the five-slab “Gabbar Singh Tax” was converted into the “Goods and Services Tax” with an 18-per cent cap. His reactions came just a day after the 23rd GST council meet decided to reduce the GST rates on as many as 178 items.
“We pressured (the Centre), the people of Gujarat, small shopkeepers put pressure and I am happy to say that (Union Finance Minister) Arun Jaitleyji has shifted many items to the 18-per cent slab from the 28-per cent tax bracket under the GST,” Gandhi said while addressing a public rally in poll-bound Gujarat’s Sabarkantha district.
“With five slabs, it is the Gabbar Singh Tax, but with one tax, it is the GST. Neither Gujarat nor India needs the Gabbar Singh Tax. The Congress had clearly told the BJP that there should be one tax with an 18-per cent cap and a simple tax (at that),” Gandhi added.
Earlier in the day, the Congress vice president kicked off his poll campaign tour of north Gujarat after offering prayers at the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar. During his today’s campaigning, Gandhi also targeted the Narendra Modi-led government for its silence on the issue of BJP president Amit Shah’s son’s company. As per reports, fortunes of Jay Shah’s company rose exponentially within a few months after the BJP came to power at the Centre.
“Modiji used to say he would be a chowkidar (watchman), but now people are asking whether he is a chowkidar or a bhagidar (collaborator),” he said.
While addressing a public rally in in Khedbrahma of Sabarkantha district, Gandhi also took credit for the GST council’s decision to cut tax rates on 178 items of daily use, saying the Modi government was forced to do so due to the pressure mounted by him, and the “huge response” his campaign had been receiving in poll-bound Gujarat.
The 47-year-old Amethi MP further said that the “Gabbar Singh Tax” had mainly caused damage to the small and medium scale businesses in Gujarat and elsewhere in the country. “This GST has damaged Gujarat and India. Good that they (Centre) brought some changes in it yesterday. But, we will not stop at this. We will stop only when Gujarat and India get the GST and not the Gabbar Singh Tax,” he said.
“The GST cap should be at 18 per cent. If they (Centre) do not do it, we will put pressure on them, and if they still do not do it, we will do it soon after forming the government. The GST requires structural changes,” he added.
According to a PTI report, Congress general secretary in-charge of Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot told that the GST Council on Friday decided to cut the tax rates due to the pressure mounted by Rahul Gandhi and the “huge response” he had been receiving in the poll-bound western state.
Gehlot also claimed that the changes in tax rates were done with an eye on votes in Gujarat, that goes to polls in two phases on December 9 and December 14. “It (BJP) is rankled by trepidation that Gujarat will slip off its hands. That’s why the rates were cut. The Council did so because of the pressure Rahulji mounted and response his yatras in the state are getting,” he added.
With PTI Inputs
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