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CPM calls for all-party meet to discuss GST bill

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New Delhi: The central committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, the party’s highest decision-making body, on Monday called for an all-party meeting to try and build a consensus around the goods and services tax (GST) bill.

The move follows support for the draft law by finance ministers of states, including Kerala, which is ruled by the CPM.

In another decision, the central committee said that the recent alliance struck between the Congress and the CPM in West Bengal for the assembly elections in the state was against the CPM’s political line.

These decisions were announced after a three-day meeting of the central committee which met for the first time after the recent assembly elections in four states, including West Bengal and Kerala.

“In India, when an important legislation is brought, the government calls an all-party meeting. The (Narendra) Modi government wants to treat this as a bilateral issue between the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Union finance ministry and states finance ministers. This has to be decided in a common meeting with all the stakeholders,” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury told a press conference after the meeting.

He added that there are certain weaknesses to the tax legislation that need to be addressed.

Yechury said states stand to lose from the introduction of the GST bill, and that the central government needs to address how states will be compensated for lost revenue.

“The CPM had given its note of dissent in the select committee of Parliament which contained our reservations which need to be properly addressed. The central committee reiterates that the prime minister immediately call an all-party meeting to build consensus on this issue,” said a statement released by the party.

The newly elected Left Democratic Front government in Kerala, which is led by the CPM, has spoken in support of the bill.

Both chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and state finance minister Thomas Isaac last week said that the state government is not opposed to the tax regime.

Analysts said that an all-party meeting will help parties find common ground.

“A lot of parties have been brought on board already. Support from (West Bengal chief minister) Mamata Banerjee has also narrowed the gap. A lot of regional parties are on board, they may have certain demands which can be met. Congress is standing out. Good if all the parties can find a common ground through an all-party (meeting),” said Manisha Priyam, a Delhi-based political analyst.

After the first central committee meeting since the party saw one of its worst electoral performance in West Bengal, Yechury said that the CPM has decided to disband the Congress-CPM electoral alliance in the state.

In a strong statement, the central committee said, “The electoral tactics adopted in West Bengal was not in consonance with the central committee decision not to have an alliance or understanding with the Congress. This should be rectified, and the central committee stressed the importance of adhering to the political-tactical line adopted at the 21st Congress of the party.”

The politburo of the party is now authorized to ensure that the implementation is done in consultation with the state leadership.

The politburo, in its last meeting in May, had come out strongly against tying up with the Congress in West Bengal. However, the state committee favoured continuing an understanding with the Congress to fight the Trinamool Congress government in the state.

In West Bengal, the?TMC managed to form the government for the second time by winning 211 constituencies while the Left and the Congress alliance secured only 76 seats.

Ahead of the state elections, a majority of the central committee members were against the alliance with the Congress. While the two fought elections together in West Bengal, they were and continue to be rivals in Kerala.

With differences over the alliance, the CPM on Monday also expelled central committee member Jagmati Sangwan from the party for “gross indiscipline”.

This comes after Sangwan told reporters she earlier resigned from the central committee over the decision to enter into the alliance.

“The political-tactical line and democratic centralism are the lifeline of a communist party which have to be maintained at all cost,” said Sangwan, a member from Haryana who led the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA).

-source:- http://www.livemint. com/Politics/abMJjCOoNZf4DbKE4Rb5LI/CPM-calls-for-allparty-meet-to-discuss-GST-bill.html

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