Earlier, Congress had objected to PM Modi launching GST at the special midnight function in Parliament house pointing out that since President Pranab Mukherjee will be present, it would undermine his status. Photograph: (Reuters)
The Congress and Bihar's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) have decided not to attend the Goods and Service Tax (GST) rollout scheduled on June 30 in the Parliament.
"The Congress has decided not to attend GST midnight session on June 30 in Parliament," Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi said.
Congress has decided not to attend GST midnight session on June 30 in Parliament: Satyavrat Chaturvedi, Congress— ANI (@ANI_news) June 29, 2017
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Congress party will boycott the programme for two reasons.
"First till now, only three-midnight celebrations are held in Central Hall i.e. 15 August 1947, 1972 freedom silver jubilee and 1997 freedom golden jubilee. Second, the Prime Minister and his party leaders are not taking cognizance of farmers' distress, brutal killing of Dalits and the minorities people, rising unemployment, border insecurity, etcetera," he said.
Congress leader Anand Sharma branded the event as a ‘tamasha’ or drama.
"Indian National Congress cannot be party to such a 'tamasha', doing publicity merely for taxation purpose," Sharma said.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad announced today that his party will boycott the launch, claiming that the 'Centre has changed it'.
"RJD has supported the GST earlier but later it was found that the BJP-led government at the Centre has changed it. We will not be part of it," he said.
The DMK said today it will boycott the launch since "it is only a function to announce a new tax law" and similar functions were not held when banks and insurance companies were nationalised and other landmark bills passed.
This comes a day after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced that Trinamool Congress (TMC) would not attend the GST rollout programme.
The historic Central Hall of Parliament will host a midnight function on June 30 to launch India’s biggest tax overhaul since independence.
According to reports, Congress held internal consultations as well as informal discussions with other parties on whether or not to attend the programme.
Congress also objects to the fact that PM Modi and not President Pranab Mukherjee will launch GST.
"How can the Prime Minister launch GST in the presence of the President? This is not done and acceptable," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.