After Sonia-Manmohan meet, Congress decides to skip GST midnight bash


New Delhi: The Congress party on Thursday decided not to attend the Special Parliament midnight session on Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout on June 30.

Confirming the development, Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi said, ”The Congress has decided not to attend GST midnight session on June 30 in Parliament.”

According to reports, Congress held internal consultations as well as informal discussions with other parties on whether or not to attend the programme.Earlier, Congress had objected to Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching GST at the special midnight function in Parliament House pointing out that since President Pranab Mukherjee will be present, it would undermine his status.

“How can the Prime Minister launch GST in the presence of the President? This is not done and acceptable,” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala had said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also dubbed GST as an “epic blunder” by the Centre.

Despite supporting GST initially, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government has decided not to ratify it in its legislative assembly.

Mamata had said her party would not attend the GST roll-out programme.

Opposition parties like Nationalist Congress Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal have also called meetings of their respective party leaders today to finalise their strategies.

A mega rehearsal was conducted on Wednesday night in the Central Hall of Parliament ahead of the historic launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at midnight on June 30.

The event to launch the GST will be held in the circular-shaped Central Hall, which witnessed a function to mark 50 years of Independence, and will be attended by President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and a host of senior ministers and bureaucrats, among others.

Mukherjee had piloted the first Constitutional Amendment Bill to bring in GST in 2011 when he was finance minister with the previous UPA government. The final event is likely to start at 11 pm on June 30 and will be on till half past midnight.