NEW DELHI: Former minister Mani Shankar Aiyar has hit back at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his charge that Congress was "blocking progress" on the GST bill saying it was the BJP led by none other than Jaitley who had blocked passage of the bill during the UPA rule.
"Arun Jaitley's Facebook post on Congress and the GST is wrong on every count. He begins by bemoaning the fact that while the GST (Goods and Services Tax) is a Congress initiative, it is now the Congress that is blocking progress.
"What he forgets to add is that it is the BJP, led in this instance by none other than Jaitley himself, who blocked the passage of the 2011 GST Bill presented by then Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, principally because Gujarat, under a Chief Minister called Narendra Modi, was dead opposed to it," he said.
Referring to Jaitley's article on Sunday squarely blaming Congress party's "obstructionist" policies to stall the bill, Aiyar said "it was thus richly ironic that the man who taught us how to block matters is now bemoaning how well we have learned from him to do so."
A former union minister and member of the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha, he said the difference was that while Modi and Jaitley blocked without reason , the Congress has presented cogent reasons - of a general and specific nature - for its stand in the long dissent note it has incorporated into the Report of the Select Committee on Jaitley's GST Bill.
Aiyar, writing his blog on NDTV, said as Jaitley made no reference to the general reasons advanced by the Congress "(for that would be to nakedly reveal his own absence of reason), let this column bring on record the principal general reason.
"Our Note of Dissent begins by saying that while we are in favour of a "simple and comprehensive GST" the present Bill is neither simple nor comprehensive."