GST State finance ministers
Internal differences, inflation panic holding BJP away from GST, says Congress. In Picture: A labourer pushes a handcart loaded with sacks containing tea packets, towards a supply truck in Kolkata.[Representation Image]REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

The Congress party has clarified that three issues on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill are non-negotiable.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday told NDTV that for their party, "three issues" were non-negotiable.

The two leaders also denied Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's assertion that he had spoken to every Congress leader on the GST issue. They claimed the Finance Minister called on them separately to hand each one an invitation to the forthcoming wedding of his daughter, NDTV added.

The three issues the Congress leaders listed were: the 1% tax for manufacturers, the constitutional cap of 18 percent for GST rate, and an independent dispute resolution mechanism, NDTV elaborated in its report.

"Unless the government responds on this we will not compromise," they said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitleyon Wednesday evening had claimed that the GST bill would be passed during the winter session of Parliament because, in his view, a consensus was being built on the issue and he expected to get the requisite numbers to pass the bill. In that vein, he had also claimed that he had spoken to 'every Congress leader'.

NDTV said that Rahul Gandhi had, in response to questions about his party blocking the reform, said: "Do we want the GST? Are we ready to compromise on GST? Are we ready to talk on GST? Absolutely. Are we going to accept just being thrown aside, no."

The government needs the Congress' support to push the bill through the Rajya Sabha or Upper House, where it is in a minority. It wants to implement GST by April 2016, but the deadline may be missed if Parliament does not pass the bill in the winter session.