The Centre slashed GST rates to avoid a drubbing in the Gujarat polls, the Shiv Sena claimed on Monday while dubbing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) an “expert in gaining political mileage and publicity” from any issue.
In the biggest Goods and Services Tax (GST) rejig yet, tax rates on over 200 items were cut on November 10 to provide relief to consumers and businesses. As many as 178 items of daily use were shifted from the top tax bracket of 28% to 18%, while a uniform 5% tax was prescribed for all restaurants.
Questioning the timing, the Sena asked the Central government why it decided to “bow down” now. “These people are experts in gaining political mileage and publicity out of any issue,” it said in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.
“Why did this government, which had said (it) won’t compromise on the issue (of GST) and would ignore protests, now bow down? The answer to this lies in the staunch opposition they are facing in Gujarat polls,” it said.
The Sena claimed that BJP leaders are not being allowed to enter villages in Gujarat and conduct press conferences, and their posters are being removed.
The NDA constituent added that chief ministers of various states along with central ministers will leave the country’s affairs in a lurch to participate in the campaigning in Gujarat. “There will be a lot of money spent as well.”
The GST has increased inflation and upset the budgets of common people. “…people who are praising the troubled economy are enemies of the nation,” the Sena said.
The GST has “broken the backs” of poor people and small traders, and this has increased anger in the country. Small traders have hit the streets in Gujarat and been beaten up with lathis, the editorial said.
“The fear that it will have to bear the brunt of these lathis and that none of Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi’s campaigns will work made the government bend on GST,” it claimed. Polling for the two-phase assembly elections in Gujarat will take place on December 9 and 14, and votes will be counted on December 18.