Naveen, Modi are two sides of a coin: Jairam Ramesh

Bhubaneswar: Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday dubbed Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik and prime minister Narendra Modi as the two sides of a coin.

“The real name of NaMo (Narendra Modi) is NaviMo (Naveen-Modi),” he told media persons at Congress Bhawan here.

Reiterating the demands of the Congress for Supreme Court-monitored CBI investigations into the mega chit fund and mining scams, Ramesh said “We have full confidence on the Supreme Court and the CBI, but we have zero confidence on the Narendra Modi government”.

He said now-a-days, he has found that a lot of Central ministers like Manoj Sinha, Dharmendra Pradhan, Jayant Sinha etc have discovered fondness for Odisha.

“These leaders have practically no work in Delhi. They might have come to Odisha to do some work. But they should know how to spread falsehood,” Ramesh said.

Reacting to the statement of Union minister of state for Finance Jayant Sinha, who in a press briefing in Bhubaneswar yesterday had alleged the Congress does not want the passing of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in the Parliament, the AICC leader said he is a new comer to politics. But within one year, he has learnt the art of telling lies which is the trademark of the BJP.

“Frankly speaking, I have no knowledge about the stand of the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government on GST as he depends on the ventilator (Narendra Modi). It is amply clear that the BJD is blowing hot and cold in the same breath. While it says it supports the GST bill, on the other hand it says it has the conditional support to the bill. It has no other alternative other than supporting the GST bill since it is aware of the conditional bureau of investigation,” he maintained.

He further said the GST bill was introduced for the first time by the then Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in Lok Sabha in March, 2011. The bill later went to the standing committee.

“Normally the standing committee on Finance normally gives its report within a maximum of six months. But this standing committee presented its report after nearly two-and-half years on August, 2013. The chairman of the standing committee was former Finance minister Yashwant Sinha who is the father of Jayant Sinha. And the reason of the committee taking so much time to present its bill was due to the objection by the Gujarat government led by the then chief minister Narendra Modi. How come a former chief minister, who had opposed the GST bill tooth and nail, is now sticking on to pass the bill?” Ramesh wondered.

Stating that the Congress sincerely wants the GST bill be passed in the Parliament at the earliest, the Congress leader said in true sense, the BJP government never wants the passing of the bill.

“We have put three conditions for passing of the bill. The first condition is that the GST should not exceed more than 18 percent. The second condition is removal of additional one percent tax and the third condition is setting up of an independent judicial body to regulate inter-state disputes or dispute of a state with the Centre. We have given our demands in writing to the government that if it agrees with these three conditions, we will pass the bill without delay. I would like to advise Jayant Sinha, who is my good friend, that he should take some pain for telling the truth. Like Jual Oram, who took the pain to tell the truth about the BJD-BJP nexus in the CBI probe into the chit fund and mining scams in Odisha, Jayant Singh should follow his suit,” Ramesh said.

To a question on Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh, the Congress leader said without taking proper precautions and public hearing, no project can proceed. Since the project would result in the submergence of some portions in Chhattisgarh and Odisha, the chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh must sit together and find out a solution. The Central government should take the lead since it has announced it as a national project.

“I had written a letter to the Naveen Patnaik and Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh. But I have got no response from them till date,” he informed.

To a question on hurling of eggs by the Youth Congress activists at the ministers in Odisha, Ramesh said they are young and enthusiastic.

“These incidents are not new. John Presscott, the then deputy prime minister of United Kingdom, had also faced similar incident. Apart from Odisha, the incident has taken place in India and other countries as well. After all, there no dearth of eggs,” he quipped.

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