Digvijaya Singh puts the ball in PM Modi's court, says he must negotiate on GST directly

Hyderabad: Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should directly negotiate with political parties having reservations on the issue of GST, as is a practice in the US.

The Congress General Secretary said from 2006-07 till May 2014 when the UPA wanted to bring in the GST Bill the BJP opposed it, and Modi, then Gujarat chief minister, even went to the extent of saying he would never allow it to be passed.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh. PTI

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh. PTI

"As it happened in other cases also, Modi and BJP again did a U-turn. Now, they are blaming that Congress party is not allowing GST to pass," Singh told PTI in Hyderabad.

"The Standing Committee of Rajya Sabha has only pointed out three issues — there should be a cap of 18 percent in the Constitution; in provision of additional one per cent tax, the option for the state government should not be there; and a greater representation of the states in the national GST Council. If they (NDA government) agree to these three provisions (amendments), we will support," the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said.

"If this government does not want to negotiate, they should learn from the US democracy also where the President himself negotiates with different political parties. So, it's incumbent on Prime Minister and the Parliamentary Affairs Minister to negotiate," Singh said.

When asked if it meant that Modi and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar should directly talk to the top Congress leadership, he said, "They must, they should. This is the only way."

On whether Congress would then show "flexibility" on those three issues, Singh said, "On these three issues, where is the problem? It is in the interest of consumer."

When told that the Congress would then run the risk of being seen as an "obstructionist", he said the party should ensure that people understand its views, and also denied that Congress is "isolated" on the issue.

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Updated Date: Jul 08, 2016 18:30:12 IST

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