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Will not be a rubber stamp of any party: TMC on not signing joint statement of Opposition parties

Two TMC Rajya Sabha MPs, Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri, announced that they will hold a dharna in front of the Gandhi statue inside Parliament premises from 10 am to 6 pm daily till the end of the Winter Session to protest against the move to suspend them.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi |
November 30, 2021 9:07:12 pm
The TMC has maintained that there is a distinction between it and parties like the RJD, DMK and the CPI(M) – which are all electoral allies of the Congress – or the NCP and Shiv Sena, which run a government with the Congress. (File)

A day after questions arose over it not signing a joint statement against the suspension of 12 MPs from Rajya Sabha, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Tuesday said it wants Opposition unity on issues while ensuring that it does not become the “rubber stamp” of any other party.

Addressing a press conference here, TMC Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien stressed that the party will not boycott the remaining part of the Winter Session as it does not want the government to get a “free pass” to push through potentially contentious bills.

Two TMC Rajya Sabha MPs, Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri, announced that they will hold a dharna in front of the Gandhi statue inside Parliament premises from 10 am to 6 pm daily till the end of the Winter Session to protest against the move to suspend them.

“There may be some other parties that are in alliance with a party. There may be some other parties which are running a government with a party. We are not, we fought the polls in May alone. We want opposition unity but we are not duty bound to be anybody’s rubber stamp,” O’Brien said.

The joint statement was issued by 14 Opposition parties. The TMC has maintained that there is a distinction between it and parties like the RJD, DMK and the CPI(M) – which are all electoral allies of the Congress – or the NCP and Shiv Sena, which run a government with the Congress.

On the question of boycotting Parliament, O’Brien said, “We will not boycott Parliament. We will be in Parliament and fight. The government is accountable to Parliament, which is, in turn, accountable to the people.”

Sen said the BJP MPs should apologise, instead of them asking the Opposition members to do so. “The treasury benches compelled us to protest in this session as well as the last session. If someone has to apologise, it is them,” she said.

“In the 14th and 15th Lok Sabha, 60-70% of the bills were scrutinized by a parliamentary committee. It is down to 10% now. Four out of 10 bills passed are through ordinance now. In Rajya Sabha, 12 bills have been passed after 13 minutes of discussion. In the Lok Sabha, 10 bills passed after 15 minutes of discussion,” she added.

Asked if suspended MPs of other parties will also be a part of the dharna, O’Brien said conversations on that were taking place at an informal level, suggesting that the TMC and the Congress are holding backchannel coordination. “The tactics are different, the issues are common,” he said.

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