Poll reverses force GST to take U-turn: Cong

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. DH file photo

A day after the prime minister called for uniform GST rate for 99% items, the Congress fished out old statements made by him and his senior ministerial colleagues to drive home the point that BJP were saying the exact opposite of what they said last year when the tax regime was unveiled.

"Another welcome U-turn by Master U-turner! Now Narendra Modi says 99% of all items should attract 18% GST. He opposed this when the Congress insisted on it in 2015," senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said.

Speaking in Mumbai on Tuesday, Modi had said that his government wanted to ensure that 99% items attract sub-18% GST slab in order to make the indirect tax reform simpler for business to comply with.

"Having scrambled the egg needlessly when GST was introduced, Government is trying to unscramble it! Typical of NDA," former finance minister P Chidambaram said.

Congress compiled a long list of statements by BJP leaders lampooning the Congress demand for a single GST slab and hit out at the Modi government for waking up to reality only 100 days before the general elections and after facing poll reverses in three states.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi recalled that Modi, during the Gujarat election campaign last year, had criticised Rahul Gandhi's demand for a simpler Goods and Services Tax as a "Grand Stupid Thought".

"Rahul Gandhi has been advocating a single slab of GST for India. It is a flawed idea," Singhvi quoted finance minister Arun Jaitley on July 1.

"After a deep slumber and when the alarm bells for the BJP started ringing in the Hindi heartland, PM Modi has suddenly woken up," Singhvi told a press conference here.

Singhvi recalled that Railway Minister Piyush Goyal too had dubbed the Congress demand for a single GST as "ridiculous".

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