With Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi unrelenting on his strategy to escalate confrontation with the government, rollout of the ambitious Goods and Services Tax appears set to miss its April 1, 2016 deadline. While the government and Congress leaders met on Monday to discuss the GST Bill, they sparred over political issues and indulged in blame games. Monday's luncheon meeting between the government and Congress leaders, sources said, failed to make any headway.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley and parliamentary affairs minister M. Venkaiah Naidu met Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj joined them. The two sides agreed to meet again on Wednesday. Congress Lok Sabha leader Mallikarjuna Kharge was away in Karnataka due to local body elections in his constituency, sources said.
Sources said the Congress leaders sought to rake up political issues. Mr Jaitley dropped enough hints that the Congress was not keen on allowing passage of the GST Bill, as he expressed his fear that there would be a “washout” of the Winter Session as had happened in case of the Monsoon Session. He termed Monday meeting with the Congress leaders as a “non-meeting”.