NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the imposition of GST on packaged food items, saying the PM who listens to even the unsaid words of “friends” will also have to listen to the people and take back this move. He said the recipe of “Gabbar” for people struggling with inflation is to make less, eat less and “satisfy hunger with the ‘tadka of jumlas'”.
The Congress leader said it is “cruel” on the part of the government to raise taxes on some essential items of consumption as it will lead to a further rise in inflation.
“Recipe of ‘Gabbar’ for people struggling with inflation: Make less, eat less, satisfy hunger with the ‘tadka of Joomla’s. The prime minister, who listens to even the unsaid words of ‘friends’, will now also have to listen to the public and withdraw this GST,” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
Congress and other parties have been seeking an urgent discussion in Parliament on the issue of inflation and GST rates. Parliament has witnessed disruptions over the issue ever since the start of the Monsoon Session on Monday.
A five percent GST has kicked in on pre-packaged and labelled food items such as cereals pulses and flour weighing less than 25 kg. For a commodity measured in litres like curd and ‘lassi, the limit is 25 litres.
Rejecting criticism, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on Tuesday said the five percent tax is being levied after a nod from all states, including the non-BJP ruled.
Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala had also agreed on imposing the levy, she said.
In a series of tweets, Sitharaman said states levied sales tax or VAT on foodgrains in the pre-Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime and the present levy on cereals, pulses, flour, curd and lassi is an exercise to curb tax leakage.
The decision, she said, was taken by the GST Council, where all states are represented, through a consensus.
Rahul Gandhi, who had been calling GST ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’, on Wednesday described it as ‘Grahasti Sarvnaash Tax’, suggesting that it will be a body blow for common households.