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Chidambaram takes on Jaitley over obstructionist label for Congress

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New Delhi: P. Chidambaram, veteran Congress leader and former Union finance minister, said that his party was not being obstructionist when it delayed the passage of key legislative reforms, including the constitutional amendment to roll out a uniform goods and services tax (GST).

“It was in a speech of Arun Jaitley (union finance minister) earlier when he said that obstructionism was a legitimate parliamentary strategy. Did we obstruct the insurance bill? They did it for five years… all we have done is asked that the GST bill be sent to a standing committee and be sent back in two months because there are some amendments which need to be reviewed… I reject the accusation that we are obstructionists,” Chidambaram told reporters at a press meet on Monday.

“Members of Parliament felt that this was an important bill and that it should be sent to the standing committee. This is a government which has bypassed the standing committee and I believe some 40-45 bills have been passed without being sent to a standing committee,” he added.

The Congress, in the just concluded budget session of Parliament, managed to force the government to send critical legislation including the constitutional amendment to GST, land acquisition bill and the real estate bill, to Parliamentary committees, prompting the BJP to call it obstructionist.

In a press conference on Friday, Jaitley had said: “When we obstruct, eventually it is the journey to that 10% growth rate that we are obstructing. The principal opposition party has positioned itself against growth and development. It must reconsider its position in terms of the damage it is doing.”

On the eve of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance completing an year in office, senior leaders and several former ministers from the Congress have spoken on different issues and attacked the government.

On Monday, Chidambaram, while speaking on the state of economy in the last one year, said: “My worry is that whatever is the intent of this government, which I presume is good, I do not see the larger vision of this government or what is being done to put that vision in action.”

In reply to a question on the NDA claiming that it has been a “corruption-free” one year, Chidambaram said: “I am happy that there is no scam, it is not like I wish for one. But, only time will tell whether right decisions were taken or wrong decisions were taken.”

Source: Livemint