GST : Lights, camera, action: A midnight to remember

GST A midnight to remember in parliament

It was like a marriage celebration. As the Narendra Modi government rolled out Goods and Services Tax (GST) at midnight, likening the event to India’s Tryst with Destiny, Parliament lit up with a thousand lights and eager guests made a beeline for the historic Central Hall.

Bridal finery, expensive Kanjeevarams, traditional dresses, chic Indian wear — all were on display as guests started arriving in Parliament by 9.15 pm, much ahead of the designated seating time of 10.30 pm. Parliament wore a festive look. The entrance to the Central Hall was lined with marigold, pink flower petals and green rangoli colours. The fountains in front of the historic hall, which was scrubbed clean ahead of the function and renovated at breakneck speed, were gurgling water. There was not a petal out of place. Over-awed guests took selfies everywhere — a lit-up Parliament lobby, in front of the Central Hall, the famous protest spot in front of the Gandhi statue.

Gate number 5 of Parliament, which is the designated entrance for the president, vice-president and prime minister, was like a shaadi mandap.

A rangoli made of flowers and colours greeted the guests. With rains splashing through the day, a canopy was erected between the corridor of the Parliament building and the Central Hall to ensure the VIP guests did not have to wade through a wet garden. The parliamentary affairs ministry had taken care of the minutest details.

Not only was the venue pictureperfect, there were ushers recognising guests and accompanying them inside, and special blue carry-bags for guests marked ‘GST’ with a special copy of the historic legislation.

It wasn’t just a function to roll out GST. On display at the Central Hall were changing political equations, the hopes of corporate India from the new taxation regime and a government eager to showcase its grand achievement. So if former finance minister Yashwant Sinha arrived with actor politician Shatrughan Sinha, former UPA minister and NCP leader Praful Patel took a ride with minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy. Finance minister Arun Jaitley arrived at 10.30 pm and reviewed last-minute arrangements with minister of state Jitendra Singh. Around 10.50 pm, security personnel at gate number 5 tensed up. Please move over to the sidewalk – a polite but firm request.

At 10.53 pm, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived. Within minutes, Vice-President Hamid Ansari and President Pranab Mukherjee were received by Modi at the high-security entrance. As Modi and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan entered the Central Hall, buglers announced the beginning of the ceremony. As the brass band played the national anthem, the midnight function got underway. On the dais were President Mukherjee, PM Modi, former PM HD Deve Gowda, Jaitley and Mahajan.

Source :

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