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BJP slams Centre's move to impose tax on Modi's rallies

Posted on Feb 18 2014 | IBNS

New Delhi, Feb 18 : Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley on Tuesday slammed the ruling Congress party for imposing service tax on rallies being addressed by his party's PM candidate Narendra Modi.

He said said that their PM candidate is indeed a problem for the Congress.

"Narendra Modi is indeed a problem for the Congress Party. It is precisely for this reason that the Congress/UPA has used every method, fair or foul to counter him. They are still at sea how to deal with him," Jaitley wrote in his blog.

Giving a fillip to the tension between the ruling Congress party and its opposition, the Centre decided to slap service tax on rallies being addressed by Narendra Modi.

The Directorate General of Central Excise and Intelligence has sent a notice to the party at its Chandigarh office, issued on Feb 12.

The notice read: "As the entry tickets to the event were not for any admission to any entertainment event or access to amusement facilities (which are in the negative list) the same is taxable in the hands of the person collecting the amount of tickets. It appears that the BJP/Shri Narendra Modi has (sic.) neither got registered under the Service Tax nor paid tax on collection from tickets."

Attacking the UPA over this issue, Jaitley wrote in his blog: "The UPA government has now invented a new curious method, which it hopes can tackle him. Absurd that it may sound, they now propose to tax Modi's rallies. Considering the mammoth crowds who gather to listen to Narendra Modi all over the country, this can be Finance Minister's faint hope of augmenting his otherwise depleting revenue."

"The notice, therefore, desires that the details of the alleged entry tickets to Modi's rallies should be furnished immediately for calculation of service tax payable by Shri Narendra Modi or the BJP. The Chandigarh unit of the BJP has not organized any rally of Narendra Modi as yet," he wrote.

He also wondered why other political parties, including the Congress, were not being targeted.

"Obviously, there are no tickets for Narendra Modi's rallies. Either at the rallies or elsewhere in the country, the BJP has launched a massive fund collection campaign. Our effort is to reach 10 crores households for fund collection. The Directorate General of Central Excise and Intelligence appears to be believing that the BJP/Narendra Modi renders service to those who come to attend Narendra Modi's rallies."

"They believe that Mr. Modi's rally is neither 'entertainment event nor access to amusement facilities' hence they are liable to levy of service tax. A legitimate question arises if such notice for collecting funds is only being issued to the BJP or to other political parties, particularly the Congress Part," Jaitley added.

Slamming the Congress further, he said 'there is no doubt that the UPA government has taken leave of all its senses'.

Meanwhile, media reports also said that the Central Excise Department on Tuesday hastily withdrew the notice sent to the BJP office after angry reactions came from the main opposition party which questioned government's motive.

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