By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 without discussion. But outside Parliament, Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), an affiliate of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), struck a discordant note and challenged BJP leader Vijay Chauthaiwale for a debate while sparring on social media over the merits of the new legislation.

The bill seeking to bury the contentious provision of retro-tax, brought before the Parliament by former President Pranab Mukherjee when he was finance minister, sailed through the lower House, sparing Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman the rigours of Parliamentary scrutiny. With the legislative proposal being a money bill, Rajya Sabha’s nod is not necessary.

SJM convenor Ashwani Mahajan vented out the building discomfort in the RSS ranks over a number of legislations passed without wider consultation, including the likes of the labour codes, Defence Essential Services Bill and Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill.

Chauthaiwale, who heads BJP’s foreign cell, asked Mahajan: “So you’re demanding total ban on FDI (Foreign Direct Investment).” Mahajan responded, asking “is it a crime to talk about advantages and disadvantages of a policy?” Chauthaiwale replied. “Everything that is not criminal may not be in larger national interest, a point you repeatedly fail to acknowledge,” he said in an apparent reference to the SJM’s stand that FDI leads to gross outflow of Indian wealth.

Mahajan then challenged Chauthaiwale to a debate. Chauthaiwale, when approached by this newspaper, said he has nothing more to add. Whatever I had to say, I have tweeted”. Mahajan said that he has had consistent views on FDI policy and in the context of the present situation, an open challenge to Chauthaiwale to take him on in a debate over this matter.