Did Congress score a self-goal by boycotting GST launch?

The Goods and Services Tax was launched on June 30th midnight by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee at Central Hall. It was a momentous occasion for India and by implementing GST, India is on its way to become one nation, one tax and one market. The event saw political parties despite their differences deciding to be part of the event, but the biggest surprise was when Congress, who had championed GST while they were in power (2004-2014), deliberately decided to skip the event and called it BJP’s tamasha and grandstanding. The GST launch was also skipped by Trinamool Congress, RJD, Left parties saying government is rushing towards implementing GST without having put much thought into it.

Indian National Congress has become expert in scoring self-goal after self-goal. The main issue for Congress was that, when they were in power and then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee brought GST in parliament, they were unable to pass it and now have indulged in tit for tat politics. Congress leaders from P Chidambaram to Kapil Sibal have said that then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi opposed GST and now he is taking all the credit for it by passing the bill. Congress also has problems with different tax slabs ranging from 5%, 12%, 18% and 28% depending upon the commodity. The GST rates were finalised by finance minister Arun Jaitley in broad consultation with state finance ministers (GST council), which also had Congress-ruled states.

Congress, even after losing state elections everywhere, hasn’t learned any lesson and just for the sake of it they are opposing ruling dispensation’s every move. The 130-year-old party questioned demonetisation, surgical strikes, will raise issues about attacks on minority, intolerance, but have gained nothing and in fact have lost credibility as an opposition.

Narendra Modi thanked all the parties, which included Congress for making GST a reality in his midnight speech and talked about ‘New India’, where nation comes first and India growing at a rapid pace. Congress by playing pseudo secularism card is alienating many parties (Nitish Kumar of JD (U) publicly criticising Congress) and the selection of Meira Kumar as a presidential candidate, just to oppose a Dalit candidate (Ram Nath Kovind of BJP) reflects poorly on Grand Old Party.

The government has to be questioned and accountability has to be demanded by a strong and vigilant opposition, but Congress’ own house is not in order and if they can’t get their act together before 2019, then there will be no self-goal left to score and it will be ages before they could win general election and govern Indian Republic.

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