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Congress will support Bills on basis of merit, says Azad

By The Assam Tribune

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS): Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Sunday that the Congress will not "obstruct" the passage of any Nill in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament, and will support any legislation that is in the interest of the nation.

Speaking to reporters ahead of an all party-meeting called by the government, Azad did not clarify the party's stand on the much-awaited Goods and Services Tax Bill, which tops the government's priority list in the session, which opens on Monday.

"Congress will support any Bill which is in the interest of the nation, people and growth. We will let the Bills pass on basis of merit, we do not obstruct passage of Bills," he said.

He also said the Congress will raise the issue of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and also slammed the Centre for targeting State governments under "opposition parties". "Situation in Jammu and Kashmir is a very serious issue, it must be discussed in parliament and the government should be answerable," Azad said.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the issue of the GST Bill cannot be settled between the Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alone. "As far as the GST Bill is concerned, it's not a matter to be settled bilaterally between BJP and Congress. I have been requesting the government since two years to call an all-party meet to discuss the GST Bill and listen to our concerns to form consensus," Yechury said.

Keen on passing the GST Bill, the government has been holding a series of meetings with Opposition leaders, which included a meeting between Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with Azad and deputy leader Anand Sharma on Thursday.

This is also the first Parliament session since Ananth Kumar has been made the new Parliamentary Affairs Minister. A veteran BJP leader, Ananth Kumar is known for his management skills and for sharing good relations with several opposition leaders.

Ananth Kumar also has a new Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs in SS Ahluwalia, who too is known for good equations with opposition leaders.

A second all-party meeting on Sunday has been called by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in the evening.

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