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BJP upset for delaying GST ratification


The BJP is miffed over the Mamata Banerjee government’s decision not to take up ratification of the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Constitution Amendment Bill in the special session of the West Bengal Assembly, a senior party leader said here on Tuesday.

"Delaying things is a habit with the Trinamool Congress government. They have not included it (discussion on the GST Amendment Bill) in the agenda even though they supported it in the Rajya Sabha. I really do not find any reasons for which they have dropped it," BJP National Secretary Rahul Sinha said.

"We are upset but remain hopeful that they will ratify the bill at the earliest," he said.

"These are excuses," he said when informed that Banerjee had cited paucity of time during the short session for not taking up the bill.

Sinha, however, stopped short of calling the Banerjee government’s decision a conspiracy. "I won’t go that far. I am hopeful they will do it in the coming days."

Asked why the discussion on GST was dropped from the agenda, Banerjee on Monday said the special assembly session was called to deliberate on some particular issues. She, however, stated her Trinamool Congress supported GST.

State government’s chief whip Nirmal Ghosh on Friday had said that all members of Business Advisory Committee of the state assembly decided that the resolution on the GST bill for discussion would be taken up at a suitable time.

Ghosh said it was also decided the bill would be ratified but when the ratification would be done was the prerogative of the state. Members needed more time to discuss GST, he said.

The GST constitution amendment bill was passed in Rajya Sabha in early August. In a process to make it a law, the bill will have to be ratified by at least 15 of the 29 state Assemblies before going for President’s assent.

As of now, Bengal would have been the 11th state to ratify the GST Amendment Bill. BJP-ruled Assam was the first state to give its assent, while Bihar led by Nitish Kumar was the first non-BJP-ruled state to ratify it and Himachal Pradesh became the first Congress-ruled state to do so.

The Centre is keen to roll out GST from the beginning of the next fiscal.

The Banerjee government’s decision followed the chief minister’s recent strident attack on the BJP-led central dispensation for stepping into the states’ domain. She has also been complaining about the centre’s "stepmotherly policies" towards Bengal.