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GST: Congress' Manish Tewari says celebrity endorsements will not help implementation

New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday said celebrity endorsements will not help in the implementation of the GST, but skirted a direct reply on whether megastar Amitabh Bachchan should be the brand ambassador for the tax reform campaign.

 GST: Congress Manish Tewari says celebrity endorsements will not help implementation

File image of Manish Tewari. AFP

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari accused the BJP of opposing the GST when the Congress had proposed it initially and claimed it was now trying to take credit for it.

Pointing to concerns over implementation of the GST from 1 July, he said those concerns have been articulated and expressed by economists and various other responsible people who understand the fiscal policy and taxation structure.

"Let us wait and see as to what happens after 1 July. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Celebrity endorsements are not going to help roll out or in the implementation of the GST. What is really going to be the test of the GST is its impact on the common people," he said.

He, however, skirted a direct reply on whether the Congress party endorsed the view of its Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam, who urged Bachchan to withdraw from the GST campaign to avoid getting targeted by traders later.

On apprehensions over GST rollout, Tewari said the Congress or the UPA government was actually the initiator of the GST.

"Those who are claiming credit for the GST on Wednesday, they should read the former prime minister Manmohan Singh's press conference in January 2011 where he had categorically stated that some opposition parties are holding the GST to ransom primarily because they want criminal cases against some of their leaders to be withdrawn," he claimed.

"It is a bit of oxymoron that those who are claiming that they have brought the GST are actually the ones who opposed and derailed the implementation of the GST," the Congress leader alleged.

Tewari said as far as the GST was concerned, the Congress had no difficulty with it as the party had supported it and because of its support, the GST had become a reality.

Nirupam on Wednesday said that the GST was a brilliant idea of and by the Congress, which was opposed by the BJP when it was in the Opposition. But after coming to power, it started diluting the basic concepts of the GST, and that was not acceptable, he said.

"Some people are creating a confusion that we are opposing the same GST that we passed but this is not true. We have always been for the GST but not in this format.

"We tried for three years to get our reservations noticed by the government but they (the BJP) then started maligning us so we had to pass it," Nirupam said.

"That is why I am suggesting Amitabh Bachchan should not be a party to every foolishness of the BJP. You (Bachchan) are a known person and have a wonderful reputation which may get maligned if there is a backlash from traders," he said.

"Being your fan, I suggest that you withdraw yourself from the GST campaign," the Congress leader said.

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Updated Date: Jun 21, 2017 21:15:02 IST

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