Rahul hits back at Modi govt for saying he had not studied GST

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday repaid the BJP-led government at the Centre with the same coin, saying it has not understood the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Rahul's statement comes a couple of days after Finance minister Arun Jaitley hit out at Rahul saying he did not understand GST and has not studied it.

Rahul, speaking to leading industry representatives in Surat, said conceptually the idea of GST and India having one tax system was not bad. "The GST that BJP has brought is not GST. GST means one tax, not five taxes. They have not understood GST. They have put five slabs and complexities...GST is a process, it is a negotiation, it is work in progress...They need to change the structure or else we will not get economic recovery," Rahul told the gathering. "If we come to power, we will bring in change in the structure."

He also rebutted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's claim that Congress was a party to GST. "Modiji kept giving lectures after lectures that Congress is stopping GST. Yes. we tried to stop GST as this is not the one we wanted.

When Modiji realised that he has made a mistake, he is saying that even Congress is a party to this."

He urged the Prime Minister to accept his mistakes of demonetisation and GST. "A person must have self- confidence to apologise to the people who put trust in him. The problem is Modiji is not taking the blame," Rahul said.

The Congress vice president reiterated his stance on demonetisation, calling it a "strategy" to help those with black money convert it to white. He said that there was a "fundamental flaw" in the thinking of the Prime Minister who, Rahul said, believed that all the people who deal in cash are thieves. "If you run business, you need trust. They do not trust. They think there should be policing as someone is playing mischief and needs to be caught. But entire country is not up to mischief," he quipped.

PM's thinking

He went on to quote the example of Aadhaar, which he said was to help people and not monitor them. "Now they are linking everything to Aadhaar, be it your bank account or phone connection. The philosophy should be to support and help the country. To think that every small businessman or every farmer is a thief is not going to help. This is the thinking of Prime Minister."

Rahul spent the entire day in Surat visiting textiles and diamond units. He tried his hand at polishing a rough diamond. He also took a break to have snacks at a roadside tea stall.

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