Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Friday appealed to the Opposition to reconsider its decision not to attend the launch of the Goods and Service Tax, saying it was not a political event. “I still appeal to Congress and other parties boycotting GST event to reconsider. It’s not a party function,” the senior minister said.
His appeal comes hours before the government, in a midnight session, will officially launch the new tax regime. The Congress Party claims the midnight event is a publicity move and that it wouldn’t want to be part of a celebration when there are protests over various issues across the country.
“These are the two reasons… the ongoings in the country and the fact that functions held in the Central Hall in the past were related to India’s independence,” said Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, adding that “this is a taxation law. It can be amended tomorrow. It can be amended several times. The government just wants to indulge in publicity… they are masters in publicity.”
In a letter to presidents of 50 national and state political parties, Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh called the launch of GST a “momentous occasion” and underlined that such a gigantic task has been achieved with the cooperation of all state governments. The government also sent out letters to chief ministers and chief secretaries of all states seeking their cooperation in the implementation of GST in their respective states.