Alongside GST bills, House discusses Lord Hanuman, Amitabh Bachchan and Messi
The debate on four GST-related bills in Rajya Sabha Wednesday touched upon Lord Hanuman, Swami Vivekananda and Amitabh Bachchan, besides Messi, Pele and Maradona, as well as conversations between Lord Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagwad Gita and between Bheeshma and Yudhishthira in Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata.
In a debate initiated by Deputy leader of the Congress Anand Sharma, Derek O’Brien traced the history of the GST Bill and went back to 2000 and the obsession with another abbreviation, KBC, a show anchored by Bachchan. “I started with the famous quiz show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, KBC. At least, now we have answered the question that the nation has been asking, which is, KBC, Kab Banega Consensus.” He added: “The great footballers of the world, like, Messi, Pele, Maradona, all had No. 10 jerseys; if our Leader of the House had to wear a football jersey, it wouldn’t be 10, it would be 110 because everything is Article 110 [money bills] and comes through in this manner.”
Bhupendra Yadav (BJP) quoted a letter by Swami Vivekananda in favour of free flow of trade which, Yadav said, will be possible with GST. He referred to the Bheeshma-Yudhishthira dialogue to explain an ideal tax collection system and ethos of governance.
“As the bees collect honey from flowers gradually, the king should draw wealth gradually from his kingdom,” Yadav said. Naresh Agrawal (SP) pointed out Yadav hadn’t named the king and must have meant “Modi raja”. Agrawal described Jaitley as amiable and drew a parallel, saying Lord Hanuman Hanuman realised his power only when he was told about it. “Jatileyji, you are our Hanuman, the Leader of this House and constitutional expert. We are in support [of GST bills]. Please take back the money bill.”
Jairam Ramesh (Congress) said no one government can take credit for GST and quoted a conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna: “Die following your religion than following that of the other.” Ramesh and Congress colleague Digvijaya Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when Gujarat CM, had opposed GST. “Jaitley had two advantages,” Ramesh said. “He did not have a cussed obstructionist standing committee to deal with which took 28 months to submit its report. And Mr Jaitley did not have a single-minded obstructionist CM with whom Mr Chidambaram and Mr Pranab Mukherjee unfortunately had to deal with.”
Subramanian Swamy (BJP) questioned the shareholding pattern in GSTN, GST’s IT backbone, terming it “a shady organisation” and saying it was a “grave security” issue.