New Delhi(PTI): Top Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh on Friday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and are learnt to have discussed key issues, including the GST bill that is pending in Parliament.
After the meeting, FM Arun Jaitley spoke to the media. “Today PM invited Sonia ji and Manmohanji to discuss various issues related to Winter Session,” he said. He added that PM talked about the pending issues of the parliament with former PM Manmohan Singh and Congress’s Sonia Gandhi.
“There was also discussion on the GST Bill. Congress leaders gave their suggestions, we also told them our opinion,” said Jaitley.
He said that Congress had put forward three issues. Congress leaders will discuss within the party, then fresh contact between government and them will happen.
The meeting assumes significance as the government and the Congress are at loggerheads over the passage of crucial legislations and Congress blocking the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill. In a major reach-out to the main Opposition, the Prime Minister invited Gandhi and Singh over tea at his Race Course Road residence around 7.00 pm. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu were also present at the meeting. “Former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh & Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi meet PM.
Jaitley, who needs Parliament approval for GST Bill in the winter session to roll out the new indirect tax regime as planned from April 1, had said he has spoken to “almost all Congress leaders” on the issue. “We have absolutely no hesitation even at the level of the Prime Minister. We have never had in it in the past, we don’t have it (now). He is willing to speak to everyone,” he had said.
Congress had stalled passage of the GST Constitution Amendment Bill in the last session of Parliament over its demand that a revenue-neutral rate not higher than 18 per cent be mentioned in it. It is also opposed to states being given powers to levy additional 1 per cent tax on supply of goods over and above GST rate.