Tuesday, August 11, 2015

GST - the 'gist' of a political row - Make Namo bow before DYNASTY


If Narendra Modi did not exit, the ‘sickular’ India and Namo detractors would have created him. That’s the enigma of a 'hated man' ---- whom the intellectuals – self-styled and pseudo being the majority – would deny him the credit of one mark in a school quiz if he says, “Sun rises in the east”.
How does Narendra Modi know that sun rises in the east! Whether Sun had told him and Amit Shah in private; was Arun Jaitley also present? And most importantly (sic), Sonia Gandhi could have screamed, did Modi consult our former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or our young vice president Rahul.
"Yeh arrogance mein maheer hae", she could have easily given a precious sound-byte to the slavish electronic media.

Unfortunately, the debate about the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill – and whether it should be passed by Rajya Sabha during the on-going monsoon session – has come to that morass.

True, Modi's legion of powerful critics is a force to reckon with. But even the worst of Modi-baiters critics had to give Modi the due - that he worked and that the state of Gujarat grew faster than any many other Indian states. “…… 10 years on (since the mayhem of 2002) whilst the controversy is still being debated, it isn't stopping business from flowing in (Gujarat),” summed up BBC in its report on the eve of the completion of 10 years of the country’s worst religious violence in 2012. 
On August 11-12 post-mid-night; many are burning mid-night oil and others are trying to work out the 'requisite' numbers -- which ever side of the divide one could be.
The real debate is will Sonia-Rahul ("Maa-bete ki party", as Modi himself would have said) now force Congress, the "original authors" of the draft legislation which would push economic reforms further, dump it.
A section of BJP supporters and even saffron party ministers would not be surprised.

The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, piloting the GST Bill, has sought drive home a message eloquently that if it fails to pass through Rajya Sabha, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are to be blamed.  "The assessment in the government is that there are not many in even Congress pushing this logic that House should not run. Only their top two leaders... have been stubborn on it," he said.
"Let's deny Modi the credit"

But what's worse for the Congress is - a typical double whammy as Mamata Banerjee has discovered her love for the GST and for his part Mulayam Singh Yadav feels 'enough'of backing Congress.
Since then Congress is actually confused and it is not without good reason. The Congress was taken back and almost gave an impression of making a climb down. Rahul sought to change the goal post itself and said Congress will allow Parliament to function only after Sushma Swaraj discloses her family's financial transactions.

"We also agree that Parliament must function," the crown prince was pleased to proclaim. This was on August 10.
The next day, August 11, the Congress thought the 'pressure' must continue and thus hangama was enacted. In fact, in Lok Sabha Congress members deliberately wanted to provoke the Chair and also the members from treasury bench so that some chaos washes out the already 'wasted' monsoon session of Parliament.

The GST bill needs to be passed by a two-third majority in both Houses of Parliament and by the legislatures of half of the states in the country to become a law.
This constitutional binding has made things difficult for the government in terms of managing the numbers in 245-members Rajya Sabha as Congress with 68 members is 
on a commanding position.

All eyes on Mamata and other regional parties
The Left parties comprising CPI(M) - 9 and CPI- 1 is likely to oppose the GST and also vote against it. But to vote against it is easier said than done for Congress.

"The GST should come," thus came a meek remark from Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Both Singhvi and Anand Sharma, who champions the Congress virtue of speaking more than he knows, raised procedural matters on the Business Advisory Committee of Rajya Sabha not clearing GST for the agenda.
Singhvi further said, "the BJP government is now only seeking protection under the veil of GST to hide the gross failure of its economic policy". This read like a surrender.

But yet they would not give up and thus all eyes will be on regional players. Mamata Banerjee with her 12 MPs favours GST, similar indication has some Samajwadi Party with 15 members. Everyone will be also curious on how AIADMK's 11 members and 5 from DMK play it up. 
The taste of GST-pudding is in the puddle of democratic polity. Many years ago, wags called it 'Aya Ram' 'Gaya Ram'. In the modern times and in a world of web revolution, by next 36 hours, we could be asking, "What made Modi click in Parliament" or it'll be more simplistic - look for the 'delete' command for GST at least for 2015.

(ends) 



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