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RSS does not want government to pass GST bill: Congress

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Randdeep Surjewala

New Delhi, April 29 : The Congress on Friday asserted that the RSS does not want the government to push the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill for passage in parliament. The party said it will support the key legislation if the Narendra Modi government agrees to its two “principal demands”.

“We have been saying that let’s pass GST. But because RSS has red flagged GST, the government will not like to pass GST and they will only blame us,” party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said to reporters at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club here.

He said the party has two amendments to the bill and if the government accepts them Congress will support the bill.

“What is Congress party saying on GST. Let us put an outer cap of 18 percent on it. Already there is 15 percent service tax in India, 35 to 40 percent income tax, and you (government) want to impose GST. By all means please do, but please put an outer constitutional cap,” he said explaining that the ‘proposed cap’ will reduce the reckless multiplicity of taxes.

“Can we impose the kind of tax on the people of this country that will break their back and drive them to a situation where it will lead to social unrest? The answer is no, and that is our responsibility,” Surjewala added.

Explaining the party’s stand on the issue, Surjewala said the Congress wants the government to appoint a third party to arbitrate on the GST issues.

“In another demand, Congress party says let there be a third party arbitrator to decide on disputes relating to GST but Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, (Finance Minister) Mr. Jaitley and their government wants the GST council to settle the disputes,” he said, adding that there should be a neutral judge in case of a dispute between two parties.

Surjewala said the government will not accept these “legitimate demands as RSS does not want it to pass the bill”. He said that small scale and medium traders which make up the majority of the RSS support base believe they will get adversely affected by passage of the GST bill.

He also accused the Modi government of being “non-serious” in projecting the country on a growth path.

“Growth comes on account of sincerity and functioning of the government; its policies and their implementation on the ground. Congress party is contributing to key pieces of legislation which the BJP opposed when they were out of power,” Surjewala said asserting that the Congress has helped in the passage of “hundreds of key legislation” as a “constructive opposition”.

The Congress’s reaction has come in the backdrop of speculation that the government may try to bring in the key GST bill for passage in the ongoing Parliament session.

India

Covid positive staff at PAC meet sparks scare among MPs

Now, calls are being made to all those who attended the meeting, asking them to remain quarantined as a matter of precaution.

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adhir ranjan chowdhury congress

New Delhi, July 14 : In what could spell trouble for different Parliamentary committee meetings which have resumed after almost four months, all those who attended the Department Related Standing Committee for Public Accounts or PAC meet have been advised to go into quarantine after a staff who was present at the meeting tested positive for Covid-19.

Most members like Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury or DMK’s T.R. Baalu, who attended the meet and went back after meeting several people, have been informed about the official who was present at the PAC meet and later tested positive.

The meeting took place on July 10, while the official tested positive on Tuesday, which essentially means that the 18 MPs who attended the meeting carried on with their normal life for the last few days. The PAC has a total of 20 members, out of which 15 are from the Lok Sabha and 5 from the Rajya Sabha.

Among the 18 MPs who attended the meeting were the committee’s chairperson Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, senior DMK leader and former Union Minister T.R. Baalu, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrashekhar, senior BJP leader Bhupender Yadav and Trinamool MP Sukhendu Shekhar Ray, among others.

Now, calls are being made to all those who attended the meeting, asking them to remain quarantined as a matter of precaution.

On Tuesday evening, Rajeev Chandrashekhar tweeted, “Ok, so I came to Delhi. Attended Parliamentary Committee meeting on 10th. Turns out one staff of Committee secretariat has tested COVID positive today. So I am headed to 7 days quarantine.”

With the gradual resumption of different committee meetings, the government is exploring the possibility of convening a short Monsoon Session of the Parliament.

Both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats have explored all the possibilities, including using a substitute venue like Vigyan Bhawan, to ensure seating with “do gaaz ki doori”, but none were big enough to accommodate the entire Parliament together.

With this incident, many parliamentarians believe that the fate of other parliamentary committees and even the Monsoon Session has now become uncertain.

Earlier, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had complained about thin attendance, arguing for a virtual meeting, which both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats have turned down.

Significantly, on Tuesday, two key BJP leaders — MoS Jitendra Singh and party General Secretary Ram Madhav — went into self quarantine after BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir chief Ravinder Raina tested positive for coronavirus.

Just two days back, Raina had accompanied both the leaders to offer condolences to the family of Wasim Bari, a local BJP leader who was killed along with his father and brother by terrorists in Bandipora town in north Kashmir.

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It’s raining resignations in Rajasthan Congress after Pilot’s sacking

High alert has been sounded in Gujjar-dominated areas in Dausa, Ajmer, Tonk, Sawai Madhopur and Bharatpur to avert any untoward incident.

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Sachin Pilot

Jaipur, Jul 14 : Soon after Sachin Pilot was removed as Deputy Chief Minister and Pradesh Congress Committee president, Rajasthan NSUI president Abhimanyu Poonia on Tuesday also tendered his resignation.

Poonia said that around 400-500 members holding certain posts in the Youth Congress, National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and Seva Dal have resigned to protest against the development.

Meanwhile, over 50 Congressmen have also resigned in Tonk, Pilot’s home constituency in Rajasthan to protest against his sacking.

District Congress President of Pali Chunnilal Chadwas has also resigned from the party.

Meanwhile, Pilot in a tweet said: “My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all those who have come out in my support today. Ram Ram sa.”

Retweeting the post, Poonia said: “We will defeat slavery and will make the struggle win (hamein gulaami ko harana hai aur sangharsh ko jitana hai) #RajasthanKaPilot.”

He said that he resigned from the post in support of Sachin Pilot. “Our conscience is alive, so is our self-respect. #SachinPilotkesaath,” he said on Twitter.

The Congress on Tuesday sacked Sachin Pilot from the posts of Rajasthan’s deputy chief minister as well as the party’s state unit chief and also cracked the whip on the rebel party leader, removing his loyalists Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena from the state cabinet.

Meanwhile, protests were staged in many pockets of Gujjar dominated areas as Pilot is a favourite of the community.

High alert has been sounded in Gujjar-dominated areas in Dausa, Ajmer, Tonk, Sawai Madhopur and Bharatpur to avert any untoward incident.

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Congress suspends Sanjay Jha for ‘anti-party activities’

However, a terse statement announced that he was being suspended with immediate effect for “anti-party activities and breach of discipline”, which were not specified.

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Sanjay Jha

Mumbai, July 14 : In an abrupt development, Maharashtra Congress President Balasaheb Thorat on Tuesday suspended former party spokesperson Sanjay Jha for “anti-party activities”.

Jha, who was the Congress spokesperson and was known for his outspokenness, was sacked as the party spokesman in June for a newspaper article critical of the party.

However, a terse statement announced that he was being suspended with immediate effect for “anti-party activities and breach of discipline”, which were not specified.

In recent weeks, Jha has been in the limelight for his articles, tweets, comments etc., many of which were interpreted as anti-Congress for questioning the party leadership.

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