Congress declared on Thursday that it will not be attending the launch of the Goods and Services Tax on June 30.
New Delhi: It is "unfortunate" that the Congress party decided to boycott Friday's midnight GST session, said Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday, claiming "sooner or later it will repent" its decision.
On Congress describing the session as "grand self-promoting tamasha", the information and broadcasting minister said "it is a silly, cheap comment" which "need not be replied to in detail".
"It is unfortunate that Congress party and some allies have decided to boycott the meeting. What is the reason, I do not understand...The only reason for boycott, I feel could be that the country should not credit them for the historic, revolutionary taxation reform," Naidu told reporters here.
Stating that Goods and Services Tax (GST) is "not a sudden innovation" of the NDA or the BJP, Naidu stressed that the process for the "revolutionary taxation" system was initiated in 2000. He said Finance Minister Arun Jaitely has talked a number of times with all political parties on GST and all had extended their support to it.
"Congress has also said that it is our initiative. All the states approved it except Jammu and Kashmir. Kerala went to the extend of approving it through ordinance," he said, asking why Congress party suddenly developed this idea of boycotting the session.
"I feel they have no issues. They are having dearth of issues. That is why they have invented this...they are giving no reason for it also...I am sure, they will sooner or later repent besides paying a heavy price for the same," he said.
On Congress' statement that midnight events in Parliament had always been linked to India's freedom, Naidu said Central Hall is the "centre of activity of democracy" in which various decisions are taken. "Central Hall meeting elected Manmohan Singh as the prime minister, Narendra Modi as the prime minister...What is this silly reason? You can hold party meeting also," he said.
Naidu said the event planned in the Central Hall of Parliament at midnight on June 30 is "not a celebration". "It is a symbolic and solemn event reflecting the historic nature of the occasion of launch of transformative GST regime, for realisation of which efforts have been made for over a decade," he added.
Stressing that NDA government or the BJP never tried to take credit for launch of GST, Naidu said even the prime minister has been "telling that it a collective effort by all parties". Naidu said he hoped that Congress would "revise its decision" and join the session. "Even now it is not too late. Let them realise. There is still time. I am happy that some of their friends have chosen not to follow them in the larger interest of the country. I hope Congress also realises and then revises its decision," the minister said.
On West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's reported criticism that Modi was not doing enough on cow vigilantism, Naidu said, "she is doing lip service to the reforms and opposing it (session on GST roll out)."
On All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi's criticism, he said, "What credential does the fundamentalist have? Do we need a certificate from him? The prime minister said the right thing".
Owaisi had earlier today termed as "mere lip service" the prime minister's statement against violence in the name of cow protection and said the BJP and Sangh-affiliated outfits have put a lower premium on human life. Naidu said these problems were "not generated today" and have been there in the society from so many years.
"Why Congress was not able to bring social integration over the years when they have ruled the country for more than 50 years? Because they pursue vote bank politics and they tried to look at the people as vote banks, not as citizens," he said.