Goods and Services Tax launch: Venkaiah Naidu urges Congress not to play spoilsport

Venkaiah Naidu, however, asked the Congress to reconsider its decision to boycott the ceremony.

Updated - December 03, 2021 04:52 pm IST

Published - June 30, 2017 02:33 pm IST - New Delhi

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu.

Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday appealed to the Opposition Congress to join the mid-night launch event of landmark tax reform GST and not to spoil the aura of this solemn occasion for “silly reasons”.

Mr. Naidu claimed that the Congress is objecting to the launch at the Central Hall of Parliament as it has not been able to accept that Narendra Modi has been elected as Prime Minister of India.

He, however, asked the Congress to reconsider its decision to boycott the ceremony.

“This is a political decision taken by the Congress party and its friends for political reason. They alone will be able to explain the reason,” Mr. Naidu said at a Conclave on GST when asked about the Congress boycott.

Mr. Naidu, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, said the Congress favoured GST and was part of the process and is being consulted by the government.

The BJP leader said it looks “really silly and childish” on the part of the Congress to boycott as it has been part of the GST process over the years.

“What is there to object... They are objecting to function of the day,” he said, while appealing to opposition parties, particularly the Congress, to join this combined effort.

“It’s a culmination of effort made by all of us. Let us join launching of this programme. It is not a celebration. It is an introduction of revolutionary taxation transformation. Please join the same,” he said.

When asked if the Congress is objecting as Prime Minister is positioning himself as new Nehru, Mr. Naidu said: “1947, people gave mandate to Jawaharlal Nehru. 2014, people have given mandate to Narendra Modi... They should digest the fact that he is the prime minister of the country.”

“It is a solemn occasion. We will have great revolutionary taxation transformation. That was a national integration and this is economic integration. This is the launching of the function, that’s all,” Mr. Naidu added.

The minister said the president and the vice-president are attending the event and two former prime Ministers have been invited. He said there is nothing wrong in the suggestion that former prime minister Manmohan Singh speaks on this event.

“Their question is why mid-night. This government works 24X7,” he said, adding that this government does not believe in event management and the Congress was doing this for the last 50 years.

Mr. Naidu said the Congress is boycotting as they are “not able to digest the fact that Narendra Modi has been elected as the prime minister... There is no other reason for boycott.”

Stating that the Modi government is not undermining the effort made by the Congress, Mr. Naidu said GST is the culmination of combined efforts of three successive governments.

“The Congress party is raising silly objection. Spoiling the aura of this occasion. It is also belittling their own importance,” he remarked.

Mr. Naidu said the GST will build a new India because of “one nation one tax”, but conceded that there will be some initial problems in implementation of GST but they are not insurmountable and can be addressed.

He further said there are now 5-6 tax slabs under GST from the earlier 1,500 taxes and “at the end of the day, there will be one tax”.

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