NEW DELHI: The Congress on Thursday decided to keep away from the special June 30 midnight meeting convened by the government on the implementation of the Goods and Sales Tax (GST). Party’s senior spokesperson Satyavrat Chaturvedi confirmed that “the Congress will not attend the special GST meeting on GST implementation”.
The decision came after Congress president Sonia Gandhi met former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with other leaders on Thursday.
The party has been in a dilemma over attending the event in Parliament on June 30 to mark the implementation of the GST and has had wide-ranging discussions with other parties as well, which are likely to follow suit.
Trinamool Congress has already announced its decision to boycott the event. Sources said Congress leaders weighed their options since a group within the party felt that the GST was the party’s brainchild that has been now usurped by the ruling BJP, and thus favoured attending the special meeting.
The Left parties have also decided not to attend the midnight GST session in Parliament following protests by traders, weavers and small and medium scale industry owners on the style of its implementation.
CPI leader D Raja said his party will not participate as several workers are protesting against it and there has been no clarity about it though the government is adamant about its implementation from July 1.
“About 80 per cent of country’s workforce is in the informal sector and they have serious apprehensions about the way it is being implemented,” said Raja.
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury will also not attend the session but the party has not issued any whip to its Parliament members. Yechury also raised concerns over the government implementing GST in a hurried manner.
Government rues Oppsition stand
With the Opposition announcing a boycott of the special session of Parliament, the government rued the decision, saying the tax reform measure was finalised after consensus among all the state governments and exhaustive consultations with stakeholders.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the government is still hopeful that the Opposition would reconsider its decision.
The BJP is further anguished that even while arrangements were made to acknowledge the contribution of former prime minister Manmohan Singh, the Opposition sought to politicise the occasion.
“The decision on GST is not just of the Central government, but all the states and UTs. They have all been on board. All these states and UTs are ruled by different parties,” said Jaitley.