The Uttar Pradesh government rolled out the red carpet for the dignitaries attending the meeting of the Goods And Service Tax Council in Lucknow on September 17. The entire city’s skyline was dotted with billboards carrying smiling mugshots of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, welcoming her and the state finance ministers to the capital (This correspondent counted around 20 such hoardings in one and a half days). The venue, Taj Mahal Hotel, was turned into a proverbial fortress, and most hotels saw healthy occupancy as a horde of central and state government officials and journalists descended upon the city. Perhaps UP Finance Minister Suresh Khanna played the host too perfectly. While the finance ministers and officials from opposition-held states were giving bytes and quotes to journalists at the end of the meeting, Khanna and a few other BJP finance ministers pretty much denied everything. It wasn’t just ‘no comments’. It was ‘not on the agenda’. Compensation to states? ‘We did not discuss'. Petrol and Diesel under GST? ‘Not on the agenda’. Swiggy and Zomato paying GST directly? ‘Not on the agenda’. Of course, these things were on the agenda and very much discussed, as Sitharaman detailed later in her press conference.