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Govt, Opposition sparring put GST, key Bills in limbo

The Winter session of Parliament ended on Wednesday on a frosty note with the Narendra Modi-led NDA government getting trapped in its own net. The session which was expected to be productive, was marred by three controversies — court summons to top Congress leadership in the National Herald case, role of Arunachal Pradesh Governor and the CBI raid on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office.

With non-NDA parties coming together on the issue of government “targeting” the rivals, extraneous issues like the Opposition to the multi-purpose Polavaram irrigation project, atrocities on Dalits in Punjab and alleged irregularities in the functioning of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) and the demand for Finance minister Arun Jaitley to step down dominated proceedings.

The two issues of National Herald case and the raid on Delhi CM’s Office played a major role in keeping the House in disarray, keeping the fate of the crucial economic reform Bill GST hanging in limbo. According to political experts, summons to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case and the CBI raid on Kejriwal’s office were ill-timed, especially when the government was seeking the Opposition’s cooperation in passing it’s legislative agenda.

“When PM Modi reached out to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, it created a possibility for the passage of GST Bill in both the Houses albeit some changes. But the moment, Congress chief and Rahul Gandhi were summoned by a Delhi court in the contentious National Herald case, filed by BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy, it was clear that the Opposition would not let the House to run and all key legislations, including GST Bill, Land Bill, IIM Bill, Drugs and Cosmetic Bills would remain pending,” said political commentator Arvind Mohan.

The row over the CBI raid on Kejriwal’s principal secretary Rajender Kumar also played a key role in disrupting the House proceedings. “The CBI raid could have been deferred as it’s in the government’s hand to take the final call. If the CBI raid didn’t happen during the session, both the Houses could have got more productive hours resulting in passage of some important bills,” Mohan said. 
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