HYDERABAD: After providing considerable raw material for rumour mills to speculate on the possibility of a full-scale confrontation between the ruling TRS in the state and the BJP-led NDA at the Centre over the GST issue, the Chief Minister and pink party boss K Chandrasekhar Rao seems to have preferred to tone down his voice on GST on Monday.
The Chief Minister, who on Saturday night itself, soon after the GST Council’s meet held in Delhi, gave a leak to media that he was ready to take on the Centre for removal of GST on ongoing projects (instead of just reducing the tax from 18 per cent tax to 12 per cent), on Monday dropped hints that his government might adopt a ‘wait and watch’ approach to the issue, for now.
Lending credence to this argument, the CM opined, “Levying of uniform GST across the country is an experiment. Hence, one has to wait and see the results of it.” According to sources, while interacting with a senior journalist at Pragati Bhavan here, Rao said GST was an experiment. KCR then recalled that many countries had earlier brought in the GST. Due to some problems at the implementation level, some countries had withdrawn the same later, he added.
“Hence, we have to wait and see what will be the final result. There are divergent views on the GST slab system. Several requests have been made to the Centre over fixation of GST rates. We have to wait and see how the Centre reacts,” the CM said.
Rao’s comment that final outcome of the GST will be known only in the coming days is being seen by many as a move by the CM, known for his shrewd political moves, to keep the issue ‘open’ for the future political needs of the TRS in the run-up to the 2019 general polls.
‘CM might write letter to PM today or tomorrow’
Interestingly, the issue of writing a letter to the Prime Minister in order to take the concerns of the state on GST to his notice was again postponed. Sources said the CM might write the letter either on Tuesday or Wednesday. According to sources, the CM wants to adopt a guarded approach over this issue.
‘CM is not ready to pick a quarrel with the PM at this juncture’
Though the CM already stated that his government was ready to wage a legal battle against the imposition of GST on ongoing projects, not many believe that he would really fight against a powerful PM like Modi. CM’s volte-face on demonetisation by singing open paeans to the PM and Rao’s soft stance towards Modi while launching a blistering attack on BJP national president Amit Shah, during former’s recent visit to TS, are being shown as examples for this argument by some of TRS leaders. “Our CM is not at all happy over the way GST is being imposed on projects, which were launched prior to the introduction of GST. Such move incurs huge losses to the state. However, at the same time, he is not ready to pick a quarrel with the PM now. He wants to adopt wait and watch attitude towards the issue,” a TRS leader commented.