POLITICS

Congress Not To Attend Special Midnight Meeting On GST Implementation

They are apparently irked with Modi trying to emulate Nehru's 'tryst with destiny' speech. 

29/06/2017 3:58 PM IST | Updated 29/06/2017 3:59 PM IST
Altaf Hussain / Reuters

NEW DELHI -- The Congress today decided to keep away from the special midnight 30 June meeting convened by the government on GST implementation.

Party's senior spokesperson Satyavrat Chaturvedi said "the Congress will not attend the special GST meeting on GST implementation."

The decision came after Congress President Sonia Gandhi met former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with other leaders today.

The party has been in a dilemma over attending the special midnight event in Parliament on 30 June to mark the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and has had wide-ranging discussions with other parties also, which are likely to follow suit.

Trinamool Congress has already announced its decision to boycott the event.

Sources said Congress leaders weighed its options as a group within the party felt that the GST was the party's brainchild that has been now taken over by the ruling BJP, and thus favoured attending the special meeting.

However, some leaders opposing it feel that the GST is being implemented in a haste and all aspects have not been taken into consideration leading to harassment of small traders and businessmen and thus, the party should abstain.

Sources also say that the Congress was apparently irked with Modi trying to emulate India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's midnight "tryst with destiny" speech on the eve of Independence.

The Left leaders are also not inclined to attend the special GST meeting and are set to skip it, along with some other opposition parties.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has already questioned the government on "hurrying" into introducing GST and recalled that the ruling BJP had opposed the system when it was in the opposition.

The government will use the circular-shaped Central Hall to launch the new taxation system that is set to dramatically re-shape the over USD 2 trillion economy.

A gong will be sounded at midnight to usher in the GST. Modi will be the key speaker at the function.

President Pranab Mukherjee is also likely to attend the function, where former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda have been invited too.

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