Speaking at a gathering of business leaders and professionals in Indore Tuesday, Gandhi alleged that GST, championed by his party-led UPA when it was in power between 2004 and 2014, was introduced by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in a haphazard manner.
“When Gabbar Singh Tax was implemented, traders and people who run small businesses admitted to me that the BJP called them ‘corrupt’ and ‘thief’, and that is what hurt them the most,” Gandhi added.“If the Congress party forms the government in Delhi (Centre), the Gabbar Singh Tax would be changed to GST. Our aim is to provide a single tax with the lowest possible rate. Essential goods for common people would be removed from GST,” Gandhi said at the event in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh. ‘Gabbar Singh’ is a reference to a popular Bollywood villain from a hit Hindi film Sholay (1975).
His party has long maintained that it supported GST but not in the form it was implemented by the NDA government. The Congress president said the BJP was a “party of loudspeakers” while the Congress was a party of “listeners”.
Gandhi also spoke about the ongoing controversy in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and repeated his charge that the BJP was attacking autonomous bodies. “The case of four Supreme Court judges, the case of the CBI director, pressure on ECI are all examples of autonomous institutions being attacked,” the Congress president said.
“There is certainly further scope of changes in the GST mechanism which has been dynamic since it’s inception. Under the present government, several changes have already been made to accommodate the concerns of different sectors, particularly the small industries and traders. In any tax system, further changes can always come,” said Tamal Sarkar, executive director. MSME Foundation.