Millennium Post

Cong, Left non-committal about attending GST launch function

The Congress and Left parties on Monday remained non-committal about their participation in a special meeting at the Central Hall of Parliament on June 30 to roll out the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

AICC chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Congress was considering whether to attend the meeting and suggested that it had not given any concrete assurance to the government on its participation.

As per earlier reports, former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda are expected to share the dais with incumbent Narendra Modi.

"The Congress party is examining various aspects of the issue including the manner the GST is being implemented causing harassment to the common people, the unorganised sector and small businessmen," Surjewala said.

According to sources, the Congress leadership is divided on its participation with a section of the party feeling that it should abstain.

Other opposition parties, including the Left parties, were yet to decide on whether to participate in the event.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he was the chief minister of Gujarat till May 2014, had opposed the system.

"Why this unseemly hurry with GST before putting systems in place? After all, BJP opposed it for several years, especially then CM, Gujarat (sic)," Yechury tweeted.

The historic Central Hall of Parliament will host a midnight function on June 30 to launch the sweeping tax reform measure, reminiscent of India's tryst with destiny on the midnight of August 15, 1947.

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

The launch event will in all probability start at 11 pm on June 30 and extend into midnight, coinciding with the roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, official sources said.

A gong will be sounded at midnight to signify that GST has arrived. Modi will be the key speaker at the function.

President Pranab Mukherjee is also likely to attend the function.
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