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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Amid statement on China, GST protest, some cracks in opposition camp

The Congress, which has been demanding a full-fledged discussion on the Chinese aggression in Parliament, found itself isolated as most Opposition parties expressed solidarity with the government after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement in the Upper House.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi | September 18, 2020 4:49:31 am
Amid statement on China, GST protest, some cracks in opposition campOpposition MPs demand payment of GST dues to states, in Parliament Thursday. PTI

Days after Opposition parties shied away from pressing for a division of votes in the Deputy Chairman election in Rajya Sabha, fearing that chinks in their unity might be exposed, three developments on Thursday indicated cracks in the Opposition camp.

The Congress, which has been demanding a full-fledged discussion on the Chinese aggression in Parliament, found itself isolated as most Opposition parties expressed solidarity with the government after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement in the Upper House.

Sensing the mood, the Congress refrained from protesting, but its leaders said they were far from satisfied with Singh’s statement and the government’s tackling of the Chinese aggression.

Outside, the Trinamool Congress rallied a group of eight regional parties and protested in front of the Gandhi statue demanding payment of GST dues to states. The Congress was not invited to the protest, which was attended by leaders from the TMC, TRS, RJD, AAP, DMK, SP, NCP and Shiv Sena.

Speaking to reporters after the protest, TMC MP and its national spokesperson Derek O’Brien said the Congress was not invited for the agitation. “It is increasingly becoming clear to us that in Parliament, the regional parties are finding it easier to coordinate with each other to strategise. The Congress can no longer decide the subject and then the dosage of opposition strategy. They cannot do something in the states and seek support in Parliament,” O’Brien said. The Left, too, was missing although it is in government in Kerala.
The government had on Wednesday agreed to hold a discussion on payment of GST compensation on a calling attention notice by O’Brien. When asked why the Congress was not invited for the protest, some leaders said that parties like TRS and AAP were not comfortable sharing space with it.

In a separate development, the Congress, CPM, CPI, RJD and DMK went to President Ram Nath Kovind to convey their concerns over the Delhi Police investigations of the riots in Delhi in February. Other Opposition parties — particularly the Left’s rival in West Bengal TMC — were not part of the initiative.

While the CPM said “other Opposition party leaders who agree” with the memorandum submitted to the President could not be part of the delegation due to pandemic protocol, the memorandum had the signatures of only leaders from these five parties. However, all the Opposition parties have vowed to oppose the three farm Bills jointly in the upper house.

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