NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party has stepped up its firefight against the political pitfalls of the goods and services tax. With the Himachal polls round the corner and those in Gujarat a little over a month away, BJP leaders have fanned out in trader-dominated cities to get an idea of their grievances for possible redress by and by. It has been learnt that senior BJP leaders have brought in trader delegations from several states to Delhi for an audience with revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia.
“We are listening to traders with open minds. I myself brought in a few delegations from a couple of states to meet Adhia. He has heard out their demands, which will be discussed at the next GST Council meeting. A number of administrative issues has been shortlisted by him for quick action,” said a senior BJP functionary.
Within the BJP, there appears to be cognisance that GST is an issue affecting both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Sources said BJP functionaries were reaching out to traders in the poll-bound states to counter Congress accusations that the tax reform measures were benefitting big industrialists at the expense of small traders.
“We have shared our feedback with the top party brass, who have conveyed it to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. In the next GST council meeting, we are expecting major relief for small and medium traders based on inputs we have gathered from different cities,” said another BJP official.
“The Opposition appears to have been successful in drumming up their claims against the GST rollout. The claim that GST is affecting the middle class is a cause of concern for the BJP. That is why our functionaries are working hard on the ground to dispel wrong impressions,” said another BJP official.
RSS functionaries have also been on an overdrive to get concessions for small and medium traders and manufacturers. Some of them are believed to met Jaitley and railway minister Piyush Goyal.