NEW DELHI: Angry over being targeted on the GST bill issue, Congress today hit back at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accusing him of resorting to "political kite flying" and charging him with bringing the country to deflation mode by his "continued mismanagement". "Even as Jaitley gets into the political kite-flying mode, we would counsel him to take his role as the Finance Minister more seriously, by spending time in South Block rather than in TV studios.
"India has gone from a growth trajectory to deflation mode on account of continued mismanagement of the economy by the Finance Ministry under the stewardship of Jaitley," party's chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said in a strongly worded statement.
Surjewala reminded Jaitley that the BJP and Narendra Modi were "staunchest opponents" of arrival at a consensus on the key reform measure during the UPA rule.
"Instead of apologising to the nation, on behalf of the entire BJP and the PM, who as Chief Minister of Gujarat had doggedly remained the staunchest opponent of arrival at a consensus on GST, the FM is trying to give Congress sermons on economy, growth and inclusion.
"The champions of partisan politics have become preachers of statesmanship,"he remarked.
Insisting that "insinuations", "innuendos", "indiscretions" appear to have become buzzwords of the political conduct of Jaitley, he said, the FM has again tried to claim ownership of GST and the path to growth, even after having "obdurately opposed GST for more than 7 years".
Reminding the Finance Minister that it was Congress and its Government that authored the GST, he said, even today, the party's opposition is "not to the bill, but limited to only those parts which kill the soul and spirit of the real GST legislation."
Surjewala said Congress has submitted "concrete" suggestions and amendments in the Parliamentary Sub Committee on GST Bill to make it truly implementable and meaningful. "These suggestions have been articulated after elaborate discussions with various stake holders including economists, sociologists and various States," he said, adding that the party believes that GST rates have to be moderate and reasonable so that unfair burden was not imposed on ordinary consumers.
Besides, he claimed that states being the biggest contributors were being given minimal role defeating Prime Minister's promise of strengthening federalism. Congress Party has advocated that States must have 75 per cent share in GST Council with the Centre's share being the remaining 25 per cent.
Jaitley had earlier suggested that government has given up plans to reconvene a session of Parliament to get GST Constitutional Amendment Bill approved after "talks with Congress did not yield results."