Modi govt to states: Ratify GST Bill this month

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Moving fast on the Goods and Services Tax reform legislation, the Narendra Modi government has asked states to ratify the constitutional amendment Bill this month. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister and his party are gearing up to make the Bill’s passage in the Lok Sabha on Monday a “glorious moment”.

On the Prime Minister’s instruction, senior BJP leaders contacted 11 chief ministers by Friday evening and suggested that the Assemblies that are currently in session can approve the 122nd constitutional amendment Bill immediately, while other states can convene a special session to take it up.

“The government is approaching non-BJP ruled states too. The PM has suggested that we use regional party leaders in Parliament to push state governments to expedite the process. Bihar is one of the first states that declared it would hold a special session to clear the Bill,” said a senior Cabinet minister.

Sources said they also expect states like Kerala, West Bengal, Tripura and Bihar, where the BJP is not in power, to complete the process as soon as possible.

Sources said the Bill, once approved by Lok Sabha on Monday, will be sent to the states after Presidential assent by August 10.

Meanwhile, the PM and the BJP have launched a “mission” to make the Bill’s passage in the Lower House a historic day. Modi is also expected to speak on the GST in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

“We have a multi-pronged strategy to make it a glorious moment. The PMO is doing a man-to-man marking of MPs — a group of 15 leaders has been formed to act as whips. They have been asked to talk to every party MP to ensure their presence in the House on Monday. The PM is very particular that the Bill should be passed with the support of every MP present,” said a source.

BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya also telephoned all state chiefs to make sure that all Lok Sabha MPs from their respective states reach Parliament on Monday. Ministers have also been asked to be in touch with NDA partners and UPA member leaders.

The AIADMK has conveyed to the government that its 37 MPs will abstain from voting on the constitutional amendment.

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