Modi meets So­nia, Man­mo­han in quest for GST bill con­sen­sus

Congress raised its con­cerns, both sides ex­pected to meet again, says FM Arun Jait­ley

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Congress pres­i­dent So­nia Gandhi held an un­prece­dented meet­ing on Fri­day to find com­mon ground on var­i­ous is­sues be­fore Par­lia­ment, bright­en­ing the prospects of the long-awaited Goods and Ser­vices Tax (GST) bill go­ing through this win­ter ses­sion.

They sat for 45 min­utes at the PM’s res­i­dence in across- thetable ne­go­ti­a­tions on the cru­cial re­form leg­is­la­tion, pend­ing in Par­lia­ment since 2011.

An hour be­fore the meet­ing, Modi pulled out all stops to woo the prin­ci­pal op­po­si­tion party. He praised the coun­try’s first Prime Min­is­ter, Jawa­har­lal Nehru, in the Lok Sabha, de­clared that he wants Par­lia­ment to run on con­sen­sus, ac­knowl­edged the con­tri­bu­tions of “all PMs and all pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ments” and re­peated a BR Ambed­kar com­ment that the Congress chief had read out on Thurs­day.

For mer prime min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh, f i nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley and par­lia­men­tary af­fairs min­is­ter Venka­iah Naidu were also present in the meet­ing.

Gandhi, ac­cord­ing to sources, ap­pre­ci­ated the gov­ern­ment’s move to talk with the Op­po­si­tion and un­der­lined the Congress’s three key de­mands on the GST bill.

Jait­ley ex­plained the gov­ern­ment’s po­si­tion and is be­lieved to have told Gandhi about the pos­si­ble con­se­quences of ac­cept­ing the Congress’s de­mands. Man­mo­han Singh briefly in­ter­vened dur­ing the dis­cus­sions, said sources.

CON­TIN­UED ON P9

RE­LATED RE­PORTS, P11

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