Even as Parliament remained logjammed for the second consecutive day of the monsoon session, the opposition unity of the earlier sessions has been broken. The Trinamool Congress has made it clear that it is not with the other parties on the demand for resignations of Sushma Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Chouhan.
The party is in favour of an umbrella discussion on corruption “without getting personal”. “We want to discuss issues, not individuals,” said national spokesman and Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien. “We will be raising three issues this Parliament session and corruption is certainly one of them. That is our overall strategy, the tactics will unfold over the next few days. Corruption is the bigger issue, individuals are not.”
The party is constantly in touch with leaders of other parties such as Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ramgopal Yadav and Sitaram Yechury to decide strategy on a daily basis but it is not in favour of singling out any person in the discussion.
Over the last two days Parliament has not functioned as Opposition parties such as the Congress, the Left parties and the Samajwadi Party have stood their ground on refusing to discuss the issues related to fallen IPL boss Lalit Modi and the Vyapam scam until the concerned ministers resign. Though the SP’s Ramgopal Yadav had struck a placatory note in the all-party meeting on Monday, on Tuesday when Naresh Aggarwal was asked to speak in the Rajya Sabha, he refused to talk about his notice under rule 267 without “the resignations first”.
For the Trinamool, this is the latest in a series of transgressions when it has taken stands against the general opposition line. This includes its support for GST which it says is a “manifesto commitment”.
The Trinamool has maintained a stoic silence throughout the Lalit Modi revelations, even snubbing an MP for commenting on Sushma with whom Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee has a good equation; in fact it was Sushma who had been among the BJP leaders who had spoken to the West Bengal chief minister to convince her about the Land Boundary Agreement that had been stuck a long time because of her opposition.
The only BJP “scam” that the Trinamool has talked about is Vyapam, with Mamata issuing statements after the last few deaths including that of journalist Akshay Singh. In one of them she had called the death a “cold-blooded” murder. In the meeting with MPs in Kolkata on Monday too, she had asked them to raise Vyapam.
“Vyapam is not a state scam any more. One death happened in Delhi. Governor Ram Naresh Yadav’s son died in Uttar Pradesh. It is now assuming national proportions. There has to be time-bound CBI investigation. CBI cannot probe forever,” said Lok Sabha MP Sougata Roy. The party though is steering clear of a resignation demand in this case too.
“It is the responsibility of the ruling party to run the House. If they too are okay with the House not running that is a different matter. As for Trinamool, we view ourselves as the principal opposition party. Didi has made it clear that we will not align with communal forces under any circumstances,” said leader of the party in the Lok Sabha, Sudip Bandopadhyay.
The Trinamool may view itself as thus but the party is a changed outfit. Far from its obstructionist protest-a-day avatar during the winter session and the first half of the budget session, the party allowed the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill 2015 and the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (Amendment Bill) 2015 to be passed.
An aside of it has been that after six years, the Trinamool Congress has a room in Parliament. It was inaugurated on Wednesday.