New Delhi: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) will not attend an Opposition meet called by the Congress Monday in Parliament, as the Winter Session begins.
Trinamool MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay announced the decision to reporters in Kolkata Sunday. “The TMC will not attend the Opposition meet called by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge,” he said.
The Mamata Banerjee-led party’s refusal to attend the meeting comes amid growing tensions between the two parties over the defection of Congress leaders from across India over the last couple of months.
This week, former Meghalaya Chief Minister and Congress stalwart Mukul Sangma moved to the TMC along with 11 other Congress MLAs out of the 17 in the state. Following the move, the TMC has taken the Congress’ place as the principal Opposition party in the Meghalaya assembly.
“It is clear that the Congress is not really doing its job as a strong Opposition voice, so it doesn’t make sense for us to follow its agenda in Parliament. A lot of the issues that will be raised by the two parties and other Opposition voices will be similar, but we don’t need to follow the Congress, especially when they don’t have their own house in order,” a Trinamool MP told ThePrint on the condition of anonymity.
The MP added that most of TMC’s parliamentary leaders will be in Kolkata for a working committee meeting chaired by Mamata Banerjee, the West Bengal CM, Monday.
The Congress is yet to react to the TMC’s refusal to attend.
What Congress planned
Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge had said Friday that he had written to leaders of Opposition parties in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, calling them for a meeting at 10 am Monday.
A day before that, the Congress, after its parliamentary strategy meeting, had announced that it will raise issues like the immediate repeal of the farm laws, price rise and the resignation of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’ over the Lakhimpur Kheri deaths and his son’s alleged involvement in the incident.
“We will speak to leaders of different like-minded parties and ask them to come together and fight together on these issues. We will write to TMC and all other parties and request them because unity is important to redress the grievances of the public in Parliament,” Kharge had said after the strategy meeting.
Derek O’Brien, the Trinamool’s parliamentary party leader in the Rajya Sabha, suggested in a statement to the media that the terms of unity with the Congress on the floor of the House are different for different Opposition parties.
“Yes, there will be Opposition unity in Parliament. It is the common issues that will unite the Opposition. I also must point out that there is a distinction between the RJD, DMK, CPI and the CPI(M) — they are all electoral allies of the Congress,” he added. “The NCP-Shiv Sena and JMM run a government with the Congress. The Congress is not our electoral ally nor are we running a government with them. That is the difference,” he added.
This report has been updated to add a quote from TMC MP Derek O’Brien
(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)