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BJP States may join VAT regime

Neena Vyas

Conclave of CMs to address the issue today; naxalism, infiltration also on the agenda


  • Apprehensions cleared, says Venkaiah Naidu
  • The party-ruled States want to join the regime in conjunction with the rest of India
  • A more coordinated approach to naxalism needed

    NEW DELHI: Monday's conclave of the Chief Ministers of Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled States is expected to clear a roadmap for their joining the Value Added Tax regime.

    A senior leader here told The Hindu on Sunday that Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh could be expected to join it by April next. Vice-president M. Venkaiah Naidu said that over the past few months the Chief Ministers and Finance Ministers of the BJP-ruled States had conveyed their fears to the empowered committee on VAT. Now "most of our apprehensions have been cleared."

    The BJP wanted the party-ruled States to join the VAT regime in conjunction with the rest of India. At the one-day conclave here interventions are expected to be made by Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh, who championed the VAT when they were Finance Ministers but asked the BJP Chief Ministers to back out after the National Democratic Alliance lost the 2004 Lok Sabha election. Arun Shourie and Arun Jaitley, former ministers, are also expected to make presentations.

    Other issues on the agenda are naxalism, infiltration and governance, with a special focus on antyodhaya schemes for poverty alleviation and the ban on cow slaughter.

    Charge levelled

    The BJP would like a more coordinated approach adopted to naxalism. It has alleged that the Union Home Ministry under Shivraj Patil has left the issue to the States to deal with it as a law and order problem.

    On cow slaughter, the party is expected to advise all BJP-ruled States to strictly enforce the ban.

    As for infiltration, the BJP wants the States to take action in keeping with its stance. A senior leader said: "Whenever the BJP talks about infiltration it is asked what it has done about the problem. We want our States to show what can be done."

    Besides the Chief Ministers and senior Ministers from the five States, the Deputy Chief Minister and senior Ministers of Bihar, where the BJP is part of a coalition, will attend the conclave.

    Party president L.K. Advani will be in the chair and the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee will address the gathering.

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