Opposition parties may skip GST launch

New Delhi: Major opposition parties are likely to skip the midnight launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the Central Hall of Parliament on June 30, sources in the parties said.
The issue was discussed informally among leaders of the opposition grouping which gathered here for filing of nomination of their Presidential candidate Meira Kumar on Wednesday.
The leaders said there appeared to be a lot of confusion and apprehension among various sections of the trading and business community, some of whom are protesting against certain provisions of the new indirect taxation law.
Opposition leaders said they would like to keep away from the function which they feel was being planned by the government as a publicity gimmick. “It’s not a tryst with destiny but playing with the destiny of people,” one leader remarked.
Another leader said the general mood among the opposition parties is not to participate. However, the decision has been left to individual parties. CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said: “GST should be in the nation’s interest and not for propaganda. The ground work for the roll-out is not ready yet. I am not saying this, but those responsible for preparing the ground work are saying so.”
Asked about whether the opposition parties would boycott the midnight GST event, Yechury said, “We are not officially boycotting it and not even issuing a whip. The government did not even consult us.”
The JD-U appeared ambivalent on the issue, but indications were that it may attend the June 30 launch.
“Bihar is not a manufacturing state.It’s a consumer state and is going to be benefited by the GST. But there have also been widespread protests against the new law. We will sit and decide in consultation with Nitish Kumar (Bihar Chief Minister) whether to attend the launch or not,” JD-U Spokesperson K C Tyagi said. — IANS