Cong mulls skipping GST launch, to take call today

The Congress, which conceptualised a uniform national tax, is mulling the option of staying away from the June 30 midnight event the government is planning in the Parliament to roll out the reform measure pan India. If the Congress skips the event, it would be joining the TMC, CPM and CPI in the decision. So far, officially only the TMC has said its parliamentary party has decided not to take part in the June 30 event as a mark of protest against another “epic blunder” post demonetization. TMC chief Mamata Banerjee made the announcement of skipping the GST event today and said the decision was taken to question the unnecessary haste the government was displaying in implementing the tax. The Congress will take a final call on the June 30 event tomorrow. Sources said party president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will take a collective decision. Opposition sources, meanwhile, hinted that a view was emerging to bunk the meeting for various reasons. “The first reason is the government is projecting the GST rollout as a matter of celebration by hosting a special event in Parliament. It’s a scheme which should have been launched with preparation and with readiness of the official machinery. A show-off event is not required. Moreover, the government wants to replicate the historic Nehruvian moment when he delivered his “Tryst with Destiny” speech after India attainted Independence. This linkage is odd and even offensive in a way. GST roll out being compared to tryst with destiny. It’s too much of a comparison,” a leader said. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, meanwhile, said the party would take a call on the issue tomorrow after considering a host of issues around GST, including the ongoing agitations by traders and other sections. The Congress is divided on attending the GST event as it was during UPA regime that the tax was conceptualised. Some party leaders feel the government would walk away with the entire credit if the Congress was unrepresented at the event. But another section feels the larger Opposition can send a strong message on lack of preparedness around the GST if everyone decides not to go.