The Trinamool Congress broke ranks with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) on Tuesday to abstain from the discussion and vote on the Women's Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha but remained entrenched in the ruling arrangement. While maintaining that their party was not against the Bill, Trinamool leaders said they were opposed to the manner in which the Congress decided to press for a vote without taking allies into confidence.
What has peeved the Trinamool Congress the most is their perception that the Left parties were informed about the decision to put the Bill to vote without discussion.
“We were not consulted on the issue. We are a major ally of the government and you have to trust your own ally. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) was taken into confidence but not the Trinamool Congress,'' party leader and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said.
Though Congress floor managers maintained that the Trinamool Congress leadership had been consulted over the past 24 hours, Ms. Banerjee's contention is that her party had not been informed about the decision to put the Bill to vote in such haste.
Also, the Trinamool Congress wants a sub-quota for minorities — particularly Muslims — in a bid to hold on to the community's vote after the Left government in West Bengal announced 10 per cent reservation for Muslims in government jobs. “The concerns of minorities should be addressed,'' said Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay. Another grouse was the use of marshals to remove seven members from the Rajya Sabha.