Opposition parties may skip GST launch

Major opposition parties are likely to skip the midnight launch of the Goods and Services Tax in the Central Hall of Parliament on June 30.

Published: 28th June 2017 07:21 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2017 07:21 PM   |  A+A-

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New Delhi: Major opposition parties are likely to skip the midnight launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the Central Hall of Parliament on June 30, sources in the parties said.

The issue was discussed informally among leaders of the opposition grouping which gathered here for the filing of the nomination of their Presidential candidate Meira Kumar on Wednesday.

The leaders said there appeared to be a lot of confusion and apprehension among various sections of the trading and business community, some of whom are protesting against certain provisions of the new indirect taxation law.

Opposition leaders said they would like to keep away from the function which they feel was being planned by the government as a publicity gimmick. "It's not a tryst with destiny but playing with the destiny of people," one leader remarked.

Another leader said the general mood among the opposition parties is not to participate. However, the decision has been left to individual parties.

CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said: "GST should be in the nation's interest and not for propaganda. The ground work for the roll-out is not ready yet. I am not saying this, but those responsible for preparing the ground work are saying so."

Asked about whether the opposition parties would boycott the midnight GST event, Yechury said, "We are not officially boycotting it and not even issuing a whip. The government did not even consult us."

The JD-U, which broke ranks with the opposition parties on the President's election, appeared ambivalent on the issue, but indications were that it may attend the June 30 launch.

"Bihar is not a manufacturing state. It's a consumer state and is going to be benefitted by the GST. But there have also been widespread protests against the new law. We will sit and decide in consultation with Nitish Kumar (Bihar Chief Minister) whether to attend the launch or not," JD-U Spokesperson K.C. Tyagi told IANS.

"But there is some talk of opposition parties planning to skip the launch," he added.

The development comes as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said the "unnecessary disastrous hurry" on launching the pan-India tax regime will be an "epic blunder" of the Centre, after the demonetisation move.

"We are deeply concerned about the GST implementation. After demonetisation, this unnecessary disastrous hurry is another epic blunder of the Centre. We have been for GST from the beginning but are very worried now with the way the central government is going ahead with the implementation," she said.

"Our repeated suggestions to take some more time to properly implement the GST have fallen on deaf ears," she said in a Facebook post.

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