GST rollout: Festive mood at Parliament as leaders gather to usher in India’s biggest ever tax reform

GST rollout: As MPs walked in smiling and waving, a lone Congress MP Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu sat on a dharna in front of the Gandhi statue outside demanding immediate review and reversal of GST proposals on handloom and powerloom raw materials and products.

Written by Pradeep Kaushal , Manoj C G | New Delhi | Updated: July 1, 2017 9:29 am
GST rollout, Parliament, GST, Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Pranab Mukherjee, BJP, Congress, opposotion, GST rollout: Parliament House was lit up ahead of the GST rollout on Friday. (Source: Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

With a packed central hall and massive media frenzy outside, Parliament witnessed scenes rarely seen at midnight as it came alive to roll out the Goods and Services Tax. It concluded with impromptu ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ chants from MPs assembled at the central Hall of Parliament moments after the GST was ushered in.

Lawmakers started trickling in as early as 9.30 pm, a good one and a half hours before the event, to Parliament which wore a festive look — illuminated for the unusual midnight sitting. Inside, the central hall wore a new look with fresh carpets, freshly polished teak furniture and refurbished seats. The building was freshly painted.

GST rollout, Parliament, GST, Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Pranab Mukherjee, BJP, Congress, opposotion, GST rollout: Industrialist Ratan Tata at Parliament on Friday night. (Source: Express photo by Premnath Pandey)

Former Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata was among those present. He sat in the middle rows with former West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta, a veteran Communist leader, who headed the empowered group of state finance ministers formed to usher in VAT, a precursor to GST.

Other prominent leaders associated with the evolution of GST — former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, former finance secretary Vijay Kelkar, former Kerala finance minister KM Mani — were in attendance along with members of the existing GST council. RBI Governor Urjit Patel, too, was in attendance. He was seen sitting with economist and Rajya Sabha member Narendra Jadhav, an ex-chief economist at the RBI. Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, too, was in attendance.

GST rollout, Parliament, GST, Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Pranab Mukherjee, BJP, Congress, opposotion, satrughan sinha GST rollout: Shatrughan Sinha and former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha outside the Parliament on Friday. (Source: Express photo by Renuka Puri) GST rollout, Parliament, GST, Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Pranab Mukherjee, BJP, Congress, opposotion, sharad pawar GST rollout: Former Prime Minister and JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda at Parliament on Friday night. (Source: Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

Inside, NCP’s Sharad Pawar sat on the front row with BJP veteran L K Advani and BJP president Amit Shah. Samajwadi party’s Ramgopal Yadav, who found a place in the back, was ushered to the front row by Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to the front rows to sit with AIADMK representatives.

GST rollout, Parliament, GST, Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Pranab Mukherjee, BJP, Congress, opposotion, satrughan sinha GST rollout: Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya on Friday night(Express Photo)

Likewise, leaders of other non-NDA parties — BJD, JDU, TRS — were seated in the front rows. Members of the BSP, too, were seen sitting in the back rows. Their attendance, in a way, took the sting out of Congress, Left and Trinamool Congress’ boycott of the event with other smaller opposition parties. However, the members of these non-NDA parties were not seen joining the ruling NDA members in thumping the desks during the speeches.

SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav was seen being escorted out by Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy. He seemed to be feeling uneasy, but he returned to his seat after some time.

GST rollout, Parliament, GST, Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Pranab Mukherjee, BJP, Congress, opposotion, GST rollout: Amit Shah at Parliament on Friday night. (Source: Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

Given the time limit to usher in the GST at 12 midnight, PM Narendra Modi appeared to regulate the flow of his oratory, while President Pranab Mukherjee rushed to finish his speech in time to meet the deadline.

GST rollout, Parliament, GST, Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Pranab Mukherjee, BJP, Congress, opposotion, GST rollout: NCP leader Supriya Sule on on Friday night.(Express Photo)

As MPs walked in smiling and waving, a lone Congress MP Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu sat on a dharna in front of the Gandhi statue outside demanding immediate review and reversal of GST proposals on handloom and powerloom raw materials and products.

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  1. T
    Truth
    Jul 1, 2017 at 9:19 am
    Starry night for the politicians at the common man's expense........The corrupt crooks (politicians) continue to build their disproportionate as-sets along with their money laundering and benami property deals .........When will political funding be taxed and made transparent???
    Reply
    1. M
      Maheswar Deka
      Jul 1, 2017 at 8:07 am
      Every political party should have been present in the Parliament' special session.The GST is for everyone in the country. The GST might prove good or bad , but, unless it is implemented, nothing can be assumed beforehand.The modern day world is a dynamic one- it is a age of experiments.
      Reply
      1. B
        Balasubramanya
        Jul 1, 2017 at 8:01 am
        Congis demonstrated again that they are not with the mass
        Reply
        1. A
          Anand Prakash
          Jul 1, 2017 at 10:18 am
          If the GST is so very important and its introduction momentous, why don't you question your PM Modi why he in particular and his party stalled it for nearly 10 years. You may like to revisit old videos of his speeches and news articles in this regard if you are not well informed of his antics when UPA tried to introduce GST.
          Reply
          1. D
            Deshmane
            Jul 1, 2017 at 11:10 am
            Are you not an Indian? He is your PM too. Whether you like it or not you have no choice to accept the people's candidate. If the congress were so keen to introduce it why are they crying foul today. Is it that it will be good for the country and put them further in the abyss that they are in.
        2. G
          g
          Jul 1, 2017 at 7:14 am
          Sour puss - Sonia Gandhi did not show up in Parliament. She hates the Indian government but enjoys the riches. Good riddance.
          Reply
          1. A
            Anand Prakash
            Jul 1, 2017 at 10:20 am
            And modi was the sour puss earlier when UPA tried to introduce GST. The NDA is nothing but a copy cat government with no original ideas. With the talent pool in NDA and the feku's capabilities, it might just turn out into another disaster on account of poor implementation.
            Reply