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Opposition divided on attending midnight GST event

Archis Mohan & Avishek Rakshit | New Delhi/Kolkata Jun 29, 2017 09:30 AM IST
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
Members of Parliament (MPs) of several Opposition parties will not attend a function in the Central Hall of Parliament on the midnight of June 30 to mark the roll-out of the goods and services tax (GST).
While senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said his party would make its position public on Thursday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared that his party MPs would boycott the function. There are divisions within the Opposition on the issue. While members of the Nationalist Congress Party and the Janata Dal (United) are likely to attend the event, Left parties’ MPs might stay away.   In view of anti-GST protests in Tamil Nadu, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has also decided to stay away, where a gong will be sounded at the midnight hour to signify the arrival of GST.
President Pranab Mukherjee, who as finance minister in the UPA government had shepherded the tax reform, will be present. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the key speaker. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the GST system was fully geared up, though small issues might arise which would be addressed in the days to come. He rejected the demand for deferring the GST roll-out.
He said the Constitution did not give the luxury to delay the nation’s biggest tax reform by six months.

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