NEW DELHI – Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today said his party was in favour of the long-pending Goods and Services Tax, and blamed the United Progressive Alliance government for not implementing it.

“BJP is in favour of the GST…we have never opposed it,” Modi said while responding to a question from the audience during his interaction with the Chartered Accountants Association here.

The Gujarat Chief Minister, however, added that the Centre wasn’t well-prepared for the rollout, particularly with regard to the information technology set up for GST, which he termed as the “basic and preliminary requirement” for implementing the tax.

“IT is the prerequisite for implementation o0f the GST…the Central government hasn’t done the preparation it needs to do. That is why GST is stuck. It is not stuck because of us,” he said, adding that Centre should look into and address concerns expressed by states over GST.

Modi took a number of questions on various issues like corruption, employment, challenges of urbanization, judicial reforms and role of states in national development.

“We can’t blame coalition politics for corruption…Vajpayee government, too, was a coalition government but there was not a single blot of corruption on it,” he said, adding that the government at the Centre needed a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption.

Modi also shared his ideas on urbanisation and said it should not be considered a crisis or a problem but an opportunity. He said rural-urban migration needed to be addressed by broad basing the benefits of urbanisation and expand them to the rural areas, and used the mantra: “Atma gaon ki aur suvidha shahar ki (the soul should be of the village while the facilities should be of a city).”

Taking a question on states and whether they were proving to be the bane of the economy and development, Modi said that the federal structure of the Indian Union was, in fact, its strength.

“If we recognise the strength of our states, the country’s situation will change dramatically. I reject the idea that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet should run the country. It should be the Prime Minister along with the state Chief Ministers who should chart our policies,” he said, strongly favouring decentralisation.

Modi is in the capital today to address three industry events and is reportedly slated to meet Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan to finalise the BJP-LJP alliance in Bihar.

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