PM Modi invites Sonia, Manmohan for tea, triggers GST buzz

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh for tea after the adjournment of Houses on Friday.

“The PM has requested Sonia Gandhiji and Dr Manmohan Singhji to join him over tea and discuss issues regarding bills pending in Parliament,” Union minister Venkaiah Naidu said.

According to TV reports, the PM’s olive branch to Congress party is being seen as an effort to end the stand-off on Goods and Services Tax Bill.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley has said that the PM Modi is willing to speak to everyone to get the landmark indirect tax law through.

Jaitley, who needs Parliament approval for the GST Bill in the winter session to roll out the new indirect tax regime from planned April 1, said he has spoken to “almost all Congress leaders” on the issue.

“We have absolutely no hesitation even at the level of Prime Minister, we have never had in it in the past, we don’t have it (now). He is willing to speak to everyone,” he said.

The Congress stalled the passage of the GST Constitution Amendment Bill in the last session of Parliament over its demand that a revenue-neutral rate not higher than 18% be mentioned in the Constitution Amendment bill. It is also opposed to states being given powers to levy additional 1% tax on supply of goods over and above GST rate.