New Delhi: Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Friday accused Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of "single handedly" derailing the ambitious tax reform - GST - a brain child of the BJP-led NDA government, and championed by his Bihar party colleague Sushil Modi.
"The man who is the most powerful proponent of Goods and Services Tax (GST) today is Sushil Modi. But the most powerful opponent of GST is Narendra Modi,” Jairam Ramesh said in an interview to PTI.
"In many ways GST owes a lot to Sushil Modi. But the other Modi did not allow GST to happen. (It did not happen because of) single handed opposition of Narendra Modi to GST. So one Modi created GST, the other Modi made sure it did not happen," said Ramesh.
Sushil Modi, as the then Bihar Finance Minister and Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers, had played a key role in evolving consensus for implementation of GST.
GST, which seeks to subsume various indirect taxes like excise, sales and service tax, was proposed by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and subsequently supported by Congress led UPA government.
However, Ramesh said the "revolutionary change in economic policy" has not turned into a realty because of opposition by the Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP.
"He (Narendra Modi) communicates on everything under the sun, I would like him to communicate to the country why he is opposing GST, why he is opposing his own party, why he is opposing Sushil Modi...Sushma Swaraj...Nitin Gadkari...Yashwant Sinha...Let him explain," the Rural Development Minister said.
He further said there is a universal consensus on GST and all industry associations and corporates who are supporting Narendra Modi are in favour of GST.
"All industrialists who appear on TV singing the praises for Modi want GST. His party is responsible for GST, his party manifesto say GST, his party leaders want GST but this one man has single handedly derailed the entire introduction of GST," he said.