New Delhi(PTI): Attacking Government over moving the long-pending Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in Lok Sabha, Congress on Friday accused BJP of making "U-turn" and demanded that the bill should be referred to a Standing Committee of Parliament.
Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi accused the ruling dispensation of practising "subterfuge, deceit and a hidden agenda" but at the same time made it clear that Congress was opposing the more and manner of bringing the GST bill and "not the concept" of it as the move for GST was initiated by UPA. "We are not opposing the bill. It is our bill. We are only opposing the more and manner in which they are pushing the bill. After delaying the bill for years, what was the hurry to bring the bill without a thorough discussion," he said.
The Congress leader also repeatedly highlighted that parties like AIADMK and BJD, which are considered "supportive" of the government also opposed its consideration in the House. "Not only Congress but parties like BJD and AIADMK also pointed towards the hidden agenda," Singhvi claimed. Questioning why BJP opposed the bill for three years since UPA brought it, Singhvi said, "yet another example of the BJP led NDA's subterfuge, deceit, duplicity and attempt to put hidden agenda reflected in the manner of pushing the GST.
Without any basis, they opposed the GST tooth and nail not only at the Centre but also in states. "The maximum opposition came from Gujarat for three-four year. Now after altering the bill, making changes into it, they have made a U-turn and want to pass the GST bill without discussion. The hypocrisy of BJP stands exposed. They oppose it when in opposition and propose it when they are in government."
The GST bill was moved in the Lok Sabha for consideration amid stiff resistance by several Opposition parties, even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said it is a "win-win" measure and states have nothing to fear. Members of Congress, led by Sonia Gandhi, along with those of TMC, Left and NCP staged a walk out after their plea for referring the Constitution Amendment Bill to the Standing Committee was not accepted. AIADMK and BJD also opposed its consideration but did not walk out.
After hour-long wrangling over the procedures between the ruling and the opposition sides, the Bill was taken up when Speaker Sumitra Mahajan ruled that it is an important legislation on which the Finance Minister can make introductory comments and a discussion can be taken up at a later date.
At the AICC briefing Singhvi said while Congress supports the concept, idea and principle, it is opposed to pushing the bill in this manner now without a discussion on it in Standing Committee after the old bill stands altered.