Ditch GST ads, Congress tells Amitabh Bachchan

The Asian Age.

Entertainment, Bollywood

The state government is gearing up to implement the tax in Maharashtra from July 1.

Amitabh Bachchan

Mumbai: Irked by actor Amitabh Bachchan’s appearances in public service announcements for the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam on Wednesday said it was not necessary for Mr Bachchan to promote every “foolish” act of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.

The state government is gearing up to implement the tax in Maharashtra from July 1.

However, Congress claimed that while the government is not ready and lacks the infrastructure to roll out the tax, it is using an icon (Mr Bachchan) to fool the people. A 40-second video was recently released with Mr Bachchan speaking about the GST. However, Mr Nirupam has objected to the same, and asked the veteran actor not to serve as brand ambassador for the campaign. “Would advise @SrBachchan to wthdraw frm brand ambassador of #GST in ths form.An expected backlash frm traders may go against him eventually. GST is brilliant idea but not in this form. It is not one nation one tax. 4 tax slabs, 3 types of GST, 3 forms to b filled in a month, 37 a yr (sic),” Mr Nirupam tweeted.

Later, speaking to the media, Mr Nirupam said, “Both the Prime Minister and the finance minister know that the government is not ready nor does it have the infrastructure to roll out GST. That’s why it is using a legend like Amitabh Bachchan so that he becomes the fall guy and has to face brickbats.’’

The Congress leader added, “The idea was ‘one country, one tax’; but what is being rolled out is ‘one country and at least four taxes’. Why are Indians being fooled? And why use an icon and his credibility to fool them?”

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Sources in the state finance department said the Centre had appointed Mr Bachchan as a brand ambassador of the GST and hence advertisements featuring him were being shown. “It is just a matter of creating awareness among people. Mr Bachchan is a popular face and, hence, he is promoting one of the major decisions of the Centre,” the official added.