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GST in present form not acceptable, says Congress

The GST Bills in their present form were "not acceptable" to the Congress, but the party sought to tread cautiously to avoid being seen as against the tax reform measure.

At a key strategy meeting of Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha chaired by party vice president Rahul Gandhi, it was decided to raise the concerns of the public on the GST Bills and seek necessary amendments.

According to sources, Gandhi told the members that the party should play the role of a constructive opposition and should not be seen as against the GST legislations.

He also told the members to raise the issue of the farmers' distress and press for a farm loan waiver in Parliament.

Senior party leaders in the Lok Sabha suggested that the Congress should not be seen as the one opposing the tax reform legislation as it was during the UPA government that the GST Bill was initiated to simplify tax structure. The meeting that lasted around 30 minutes was also attended by Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.

After the meeting, Rahul did not answer any queries pertaining to the meeting or about the structural changes that are required to be carried out in the party post the party's poor show in Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.

This was Rahul's first meeting with the party MPs after the Uttar Pradesh poll debacle. After the election results, he had gone abroad to bring back his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi after medical treatment.

Earlier on Tuesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the GST bills are based on the principle of "shared sovereignty" and that the government wants to pass these landmark tax reforms through consensus.

Jaitley was briefing the party MPs after BJP's parliamentary party meeting here which was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters after the meeting.

"The FM in detail briefed the party MPs about all the four GST bills and said these legislations are based on the principle of shared sovereignty," Kumar said.
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