Hours Ahead Of GST Launch, Congress Still Peeved
New Delhi: While the ruling BJP wants to make the historic launch of GST a memorable event, few opposition parties, including Congress, have decided to boycott the midnight launch. They are basing upon the calculation that GST would be a massive disaster. As there is still confusion prevailing over GST, the opposition parties want to take advantage of the discontent amongst people- from traders to common man.
From Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, they have only negative things to say about GST, forgetting that during UPA it was they that tried to bring ‘one nation, one tax’ system. On the whole, all the opposition leaders seem to be believing that GST will have a severe negative impact.
Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, reacting to boycott of the launch by Congress and other opposition parties, told a Television Channel that Congress had adopted a narrow attitude. “Such narrow attitude will not stop the nation,” said Jaitley, adding, “Congress had the opportunity to rise above politics.”
“Congress has taken a fringe position, a position taken by fringe parties. Congress needs to think whether it wants to take a fringe position or mainstream position on issues of national interests,” Jaitley said.
However, Congress has already started preparing a background to get the sympathies and support in case the launch of GST leads of inflation and unemployment. It feels GST would lead to harassment of small traders and businessmen “because it is being implemented in haste”.
It maintains that the “midnight tryst with GST” is a “publicity stunt” by the ruling BJP. Former Union minister Anand Sharma, while addressing the media on Thursday, had indicated Congress’ intent.
He said Congress could not be a party to such a “tamasha”. “The publicity gimmick is merely for taxation purpose,” he said.
The Congress leaders alleged that the Centre was seeking to raise GST launch to the level of the functions associated with freedom struggle and independence. Only three-midnight functions have been held in Central Hall of Parliament in the past – August 14, 1947 (eve of independence), 1972 (silver jubilee of independence) and 1997 (golden jubilee).
Congress is peeved that the “tryst with GST” is being equated with first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s famous speech “Tryst with Destiny”.
To sum up, Congress wants to make GST an issue like demonetisation, which utterly failed. Since most of the essential goods are on the lower rung of the taxation slab, the masses who are the real voters might not feel the pinch. The middle classes would definitely feel the pain, but will they travel with the opposition parties is the question.