The Parliament saw a rare consensus between the Union government and Opposition Congress after four GST-supporting bills were approved in the Rajya Sabha. While senior Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and Vivek Tankha did not press their amendments, their party colleague Subbarami Reddy was absent altogether from the House even though he had proposed amendments to a number of clauses.
Following the approval, Ramesh revealed that former PM Manmohan Singh had advised the Congress leaders to not to move the amendment as it would disturb the fine consensus arrived in the GST Council. He claimed that Singh also told him that if they’ll move the amendment then the Congress’ move will send a wrong signal for a new federal framework.
Speaking in the Upper House, Ramesh said, “In deference to what the former PM said, in spite of the former PM being at the receiving end of the jibes of his successor including raincoat and what not, I think in view of the statesman-like approach that the former PM Manmohan Singh has advised me not to move this amendment.”
The ruling National Democratic Alliance is in a minority with only 74 seats in the 245-member House. Ramesh said he was not moving this amendment at all in keeping with the spirit of consensus, to maintain the federal framework and to give respect to the GST council.
After the passage of the bills, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley went up to Congress benches and shook hands with Manmohan Singh and other Congress leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad to thank them.
Notably, notwithstanding the reported bitterness between the duo, Singh has not hesitated from backing PM Narendra Modi on matters concerning the nation. There have been at least two more such instances when the former PM backed Modi government’s initiative.
Here’s a look at instances when Singh backed his opponent Modi we take at three such instances:
Paving way for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill
In 2015, while the Union government was struggling to bring all parties to the table to discuss and pass the GST Bill in Parliament. No opposition leader agreed to listen. It was Manmohan Singh, who set up a meeting between Modi and Sonia Gandhi and later he convinced leaders to support the Bill.
Saving Urjit Patel
After demonetisation, Singh saved RBI governor Urjit Patel from a major embarrassment when the latter was quizzed by a parliamentary committee in January this year. The RBI governor was summoned by the panel to testify on how the sudden demonetisation decision was planned and implemented. However, the former PM, who is also a former RBI governor, advised Patel not to reply to questions that would create problems for the RBI.