Having a BJP-led government at the Centre will not automatically translate into removal of hurdles for the Goods and Services Tax (GST), according to senior BJP leader Sushil Modi, who earlier headed the Empowered Committee on GST.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Modi said that the issues in the proposed indirect tax regime are not that of difference of opinion among parties but related to issues between states and the Centre.
“It is not the question of the BJP or the Congress-ruled states. It is the issue of states and the Centre. For instance, the issues Gujarat has remain. States will continue to have their issues and the new government will have to be taken into confidence before any decision on GST is taken,” Modi said when asked if the implementation of the GST will be easier now that a BJP-led government is at the Centre.
He also added that while everything depends on the “kind of roadmap” drawn by the Empowered Committee (EC) on GST, now being headed by Jammu & Kashmir finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather, the Centre will also have to sympathetically listen to states. Last year, Modi, then finance minister of Bihar, resigned following the JD(U)-BJP split in the state.
As a chief of the EC, Modi had managed to cobble support of states on contentious issues like petroleum and alcohol. However, now states have changed their stance, demanding alcohol be kept out of the GST net.
When asked about the immediate actions the new government is likely to take on the economic front, Modi refused to comment saying it is “prerogative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”. He added that the BJP has already spelled its agenda in the manifesto and would work accordingly.
On appointment of Jitan Ram Manjhi, the new chief minister of Bihar, hand-picked by Nitish Kumar, Modi said, “He is just a proxy CM, a puppet so that Nitish Kumar can lead the government through remote control. People gave mandate to Nitish Kumar in the assembly elections and this development has shattered their faith. The rebellion in party will be out in open in 4-5 days. Nitish has brought Bihar to the brink of crisis.”