NEW DELHI: The Congress on Tuesday pledged full support to the enabling constitutional amendment for the Goods and Services Tax coming up in the Rajya Sabha, provided the government does not come up with any new alteration on Wednesday. The government on its part, made all possible arrangement to keep the House in order, including organising a thank-you dinner for the MPs.
One of the key GST negotiators with the government, Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma affirmed that his party “will vote” in favour of the GST amendment.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will move four amendments to the Constitution — 122nd Amendment - Bill, meant for the rollout of the GST in the Rajya Sabha, when it is taken up for consideration and passage.
The fourth amendment to the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in May 2015, but got stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling BJP does not have a majority.
Once passed by the Upper House, with most parties supporting, the amended bill will again go back to the Lower House.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the Congress does not have much to do with the GST Bill, quickly adding it is for the Centre now to work out the details with the states and help the bill sail through in Parliament.
“The Congress has offered its full support in the regard. The details are yet to come; the Congress has nothing more to do with it. The government now has to work it out with the state governments. And if there are no more surprises in store, then I think that the bill will get the needed nod tomorrow,” said Singhvi.
Earlier in the day, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and former finance minister P Chidambaram briefed Congress MPs of both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha on the GST — explaining to them what it entails and why the party was supporting it.
The primary reason given was that the UPA was the original author of the bill and that the Congress agreed to support it only after the government accepted most of its key demands.