SRINAGAR: Implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) is turning into a huge political question for New Delhi with the opposition parties and traders erecting it as an assault on the state’s special status in the Indian Union.
The National Conference (NC) on Thursday cautioned the Centre against haste on the matter while traders have called for a shutdown on Saturday, the very day a special session of the state’s Assemble has been called by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.
The NC’s provincial president, Nasir Aslam Wani said his party has communicated to the state’s governor that application of Constitutional Amendment 101 to give effect to GST in Kashmir would make the state’s legislature and cabinet irrelevant on matters of taxation.
The party has told the PDP-BJP coalition ruling the state not to yield to New Delhi’s pressure. Senior NC leader and former finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather said if J&K accepts the GST regime in letter and spirit, the special status of the state as well as its fiscal autonomy would be compromised.
Traders in Kashmir too warned that giving in on GST would lead to a major confrontation.
The Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) Mohammad Yasin Khan called for a bandh on Saturday, vowing not to “allow GST in the state at any cost as Kashmir is a disputed territory and enjoys its own constitution and powers.”
Separatist leaders in the state too have opposed implementation of GST in the state.
The Mehbooba Mufti government has convened a special session of the Assembly on June 17 to discuss adopting GST. Sources, however, said the session would be adjourned after taking up obituary references that day.
Meanwhile, commercial establishments in Indore and clothing markets in Gujarat’s commercial capital Ahmedabad observed a one-day bandh to express opposition to the “anomalies and complexities” in GST.
Commerce was suspended in important markets and traders said business worth crores of rupees was foregone.