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Congress demands petroleum products, real estate be brought under GST

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Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat
Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat, Photo Tweeted by @INCIndia

New Delhi, Nov 11: Holding that persistent pressure by it and its Vice President Rahul Gandhi had forced the GST Council and the BJP government to reduce GST rates on several items from 28 per cent, the Congress on Saturday demanded that petroleum products, real estate and electricity be brought under the tax’s ambit.

The party also said that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gabbar Singh Tax” (as Rahul Gandhi dubbed it) is shrewdly designed” to help his wealthy friends but hurts millions of small traders.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a statement that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley spoke “post-truths” after the GST Council meeting on Friday while the will of the people did partially prevail “over the arrogance of the Modi government.”

“Persistent pressure built by the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party forced the GST Council and the BJP Government to reduce taxes on items of daily usage being taxed under the 28 per cent bracket. The political turmoil and widespread protests have made Modi Government extremely nervous and partially backtrack,” he said.

“But people of India, particularly shopkeepers, traders, MSMEs, are distressed with the lopsided architecture, design and implementation mechanism of Modi ji’s ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’,” he added.

The Congress, which has been demanding to constitutionally cap the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at a maximum of 18 per cent, said the Modi government was resorting to high taxation on petroleum products.

“If you keep electricity, petroleum, real estate out of the ambit of GST, 50 per cent of total revenue stays out of GST ambit. This means that the Modi government can continue to fill its coffers with Rs 2,67,000 crore annually by its back-breaking dose of taxation on petrol and diesel,” Surjewala said.

Seeking to reduce GST’s “compliance burden”, he said that complex process of form filing has brought businesses, trades and MSMEs to a grinding halt, “while GSTN continues to crash repeatedly”.

Figuring out the challenges being faced by textiles sector and agriculture sector, Surjewala said that “adjournment, deferment, rather than decision, appear to be the ‘way forward’ for this government” and none of these challenges have been addressed by GST Council.

“This is owing to the sheer ineptitude and amateurish handling of the biggest tax reform by BJP government. As Finance Minister Jaitley and the Modi government pay lip service and create havoc, the Congress is determined to fight this battle for turning GST from flawed to flawless,” he said.

IANS

Election

Like 2018, Kamal Nath starts MP poll campaign from Ujjain

Asked about the “Tiger zinda hai” comment from Scindia and Chouhan, Kamal Nath said the public will soon hand its verdict on who is a tiger or a cat or a mouse, as it knows everything.

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Kamal Nath INC

Ujjain/Badnawar/Bhopal, July 8 : Blowing the traditional conch before the war cry and whispering “earnest wishes” for public welfare in the ears of Lord Shiva’s vehicle Nandi, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath tried to reach out to devout Hindus as he on Tuesday launched the campaign for the mini-midterm elections involving 24 assembly seats.

In Badnawar, Kamal Nath, who is also the state Congress chief, visited the Baijnath Temple before addressing the first Loktantra Bachao rally.

Barbs and counter-barbs between the Congress and the BJP have gone on for quite some time in Madhya Pradesh. By picking on Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the BJP’s recent acquisition Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kamal Nath seems to have focussed on voter’s sympathy for a “wronged party.”

The BJP’s quick reaction through virtual rallies intensified the battle. Leader after leader from the BJP kept blaming the Congress of spreading lies and indulging in corruption.

About the BJP’s allegations of corruption, Kamal Nath said his party would welcome a thorough investigations into the 15-month rule of his government. “We have the public as our witness. The farmers will decide if our government was true to the promise or not.”

Asked about the “Tiger zinda hai” comment from Scindia and Chouhan, Kamal Nath said the public will soon hand its verdict on who is a tiger or a cat or a mouse, as it knows everything. He said people of Madhya Pradesh are straightforward and sensible. They know who the betrayer is and where the state is headed under the new government which earned the power under a deal and is still haggling with the wheelers and dealers.

There are striking similarities between his present campaign and the one he led in 2018 to bring the Congress back into power after 15 years. Kamal Nath had started the campaign with a pooja at Ujjain. The key difference of course is the absence of Scindia, who blindsided him and his departure with a big chunk of the party caused the current campaign. Scindia was the campaign convenor then.

Though Kamal Nath and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh were the senior leaders in the party, Scindia was presented as the youth face to draw the electorate. Digvijaya Singh was asked to bring about a patch up between various factions. Kamal Nath was thus the key campaigner. He retains that status.

Kamal Nath who drew good crowds in 2018 under Chouhan’s rule has made a striking start with Ujjain Congress leaders responding in large numbers despite the lockdown curbs. The temple town responded with hundreds of billboards greeting him.

Kamal Nath also held a one-on-one discussion with prospective candidates to set the selection process rolling. The party plans to have 24 call centres, one in each constituency that will witness the by-elections. The party workers will receive voters’ feedback and inputs for the prospective candidates and the agenda will be set on local issues.

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BJP in MP sandwiched between Maharaj, Dissent, Shivraj: Shatrughan Sinha

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Bhopal, July 7 : Former Union minister and film actor Shatrughan Sinha has taken a dig at the politics in Madhya Pradesh. He says there are three camps in the BJP in Madhya Pradesh – “Maharaj, Dissent and Shivraj”. Sinha on Tuesday tweeted in his inimitable style on the state of politics in Madhya Pradesh.

The Congress government in the state fell after former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia left the Congress and joined the BJP.

The government was formed under the leadership of former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. It took more than three months to form the cabinet and now the party has to do a lot of thinking before distributing portfolios to ministers. Shatrughan Sinha’s tweet is being linked to the same.

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Mahagathbandhan will discuss, decide Bihar CM candidate: Congress MP

The former Union minister denied there was any dispute in the Grand Alliance over the candidate for the chief minister’s post.

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Rajya Sabha MP Akhilesh Singh

Patna, July 7 : Ahead of the Bihar Assembly elections, state Congress Election Campaign Committee Chairman and Rajya Sabha MP Akhilesh Singh has said that the Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) comprising his party, RJD, HAM etc will decide its chief ministerial candidate through consultations.

However, he pointed out, the chief ministerial candidate will be from the largest party in the Mahagathbandhan.

On the formation of a coordination committee in the Grand Alliance, Singh said: “The panel must be set up to build a consensus among constituents of the alliance. The Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress have been together for many years. There is coordination, only then they have been able to work together.”

Speaking to IANS, he reiterated that no party had left the Mahagathbandhan on the issue of coordination committee. “Everyone involved in the alliance will fight the elections together, because the people of Bihar are looking for an alternative.”

The people of Bihar, Singh added, were unhappy with the JU-D-led government and were looking for an alternative.

The former Union minister denied there was any dispute in the Grand Alliance over the candidate for the chief minister’s post.

“Within the next one month, everything will be clear from seat distribution to the leader of the alliance. None of the ally parties is going anywhere,” Singh asserted.

As for Congress organisational structure in place for the coming elections, he admitted the fact that no new organisational committees had so far been formed even at the district level to strategise for the poll campaign.

Emphasising the need for change in the Congress, he said former party president Rahul Gandhi had recently held a virtual meeting with leaders of Bihar in order to revamp the party ahead of the Assembly polls.

Singh lamented that the Nitish Kumar’s government had talked about making Patna similar to Tokyo and Singapore but even two hours of rain causes waterlogging in the state capital.

The Congress leader alleged that not even a needle factory was set up in Bihar during the last 15 years.

Quoting NITI Aayog reports, he said Bihar lagged behind other states in terms of industrialization, health, and education.

The former Union minister claimed that all sugar mills in Bihar at present were closed or were on the verge of closure while during the Congress rule 27 per cent sugar produced in the country came from Bihar.

On June 24, leaders of the Grand Alliance partners in the state held a virtual meeting to discuss their poll preparation and pledged to fight the battle unitedly. Representatives of the Congress, RJD, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), Vikashsheel Insan Party (VIP), and Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) had participated.

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