New Delhi: Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not being present in either house of parliament when the GST bill was taken up, the Congress on Thursday said that it was for the first time in independent India that a constitutional amendment bill was discussed, debated and passed without the Prime Minister being present.
"This has happened for the first time in the past 66 years that the Prime Minister was missing when a constitutional amendment was being debated," Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told media.
"It seems that parliament has become Prime Minister-'mukt' (free of)," he said, adding that it was unprecedented and created doubts if Modi was in favour of the legislation.
Ramesh said Modi was not in the Lok Sabha when the bill was debated there, and he was again missing from the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday when the bill was discussed, debated and passed by the upper house.
The former Union Minister said that Wednesday's debate and voting on the GST bill in the Rajya Sabha was historic, and both the government and the principal opposition moved from their stated positions to pass the bill in a "cordial atmosphere".
"We hope that this cordial atmosphere will continue and the government, as demanded by all opposition parties will not bring the CGST and the IGST as money bills."
"Government must not bring these bills as money bills. We believe that the cordial atmosphere will continue as there's a lot to be done," he said.
The Congress leader said that government wanted pro-industry and pro-states GST regime but the Congress wanted it to be for the common people.
He also reasoned that when the tax is kept low, more and more people pay it, hence enhancing the overall collections.
Ramesh said that he expects lots of confusion on GST, but "it was a positive impact on the Indian economy".
"This GST is imperfect but then no bill could be perfect and a lot is to be done to make it good," he added.
He also expressed happiness that many of Congress' demands on GST have been met by the government.
While Priyanka Chaturvedi, spokesperson of the Congress party seconded Jairam Ramesh's claim and tweeted
Another reason why this is historic because it is first Constitutional Amendment which was debated without the PM present: @Jairam_Ramesh
— INC India (@INCIndia) August 4, 2016
With inputs from IANS
First Published On : Aug 4, 2016 18:57 IST