Senior Congress leader K Muraleedharan said the Kerala unit of the party had urged the All India Congress Committee (AICC) leadership not to participate in the ceremony.
Differences of opinion have cropped up in Congress in Kerala over the issue of boycotting the additional taxes imposed in the state budget 2023-24.
While KPCC President K Sudhakaran said here on Saturday that the party would go ahead with the agitation against the tax, Opposition leader V D Satheesan said it is not practical to not pay taxes.
Stating that tax resistance or the refusal to pay taxes was a form of agitation prevalent during the freedom struggle, Sudhakaran said in a democracy, nobody can deny such agitations.
“An agitation becomes successful when the common man takes it up. Now, the common man is ready to take up the agitation as the lives of the people have become unmanageable due to the imposition of “back-breaking” cess and additional taxes. Congress will give leadership to such agitations,” Sudhakaran said.
“The KPCC has only decided to suspend hartal. We have not decided to withdraw from agitations. There are many ways to protest,” Sudhakaran said.
Sudhakaran had, on Friday, urged the people not to pay additional taxes and assured that the Congress will protect them in case of any action. However on Saturday, he took a U-turn when he took a stand diametrically opposed to the one he had taken earlier.
He justified his stand when he said, “When I said people should not pay taxes, I was reminding the chief minister of the very words he used when he was the Opposition leader and Oommen Chandy was the chief minister. He then asked people not to pay taxes, saying his party would protect them. I just wanted to remind him of his 2014 words.”
However, he said people should avoid paying the additional cess “whenever possible”. The KPCC president further said that the issue of tax resistance will be discussed at the party and a decision will be taken on it.
Taking a different stance from KPCC president, Opposition leader V D Satheesan said on Saturday that what Sudhakaran said on tax boycott was not the policy of the Congress. It is not practical to not pay taxes.
He further said by calling people to avoid paying the additional taxes announced in the budget the KPCC president was mocking at Chief Minister Vijayan, who had taken a similar stand in 2014 when Oommen Chandy was the CM.