A number of names are doing the rounds for chairman of the Empowered Committee of state finance ministers.
The Centre will deal with this key man to rope in all states to roll out the proposed National Goods and Services Tax by April 1, 2016.
Gujarat Finance Minister Saurabh Patel appears to be the front-runner, but sources said the Centre might also appoint the finance minister of the the opposition-ruled state, such as Amit Mitra of West Bengal or K M Mani of Kerala, to evolve a consensus among all states over the issue.
However, Mani's alleged involvement in bar bribery case might come in the way of selection.
Andhra Pradesh’s Y Ramakrishnudu and Jammu and Kashmir’s Haseeb Drabu are also in the reckoning.
Earlier, a few states such as West Bengal had expressed reservations over the way the constitution amendment Bill on GST was tabled in the Lok Sabha.
On Friday, the state GST panel had deferred selecting the chairman, as many state finance ministers did not come due to their state Budgets.
State finance ministers present at the meeting had told the media they had ‘unanimously’ chosen to let Finance Minister Arun Jaitley decide on a new chairman.
A new date for the next meeting is yet to be fixed.
Asked who is most likely to become the chairman, a key source said, ‘wait and watch’.
Jaitley on Friday had said he would defer the move, opting to first consult state finance ministers who weren't present at Friday's meeting.
"By consensus, we will have the new chairman of the empowered committee in the next few days," he had said.
SOME STATE FMS IN RACE
- Saurabh Patel of Gujarat
- Amit Mitra of West Bengal
- K M Mani of Kerala
- Y Ramakrishnudu of Andhra Pradesh
- M Haseeb Drabu of Jammu and Kashmir