Leader of the Trinamool Congress Parliamentary Party in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandyopadhyay said here on Saturday that the party was in a position to “dictate terms” to the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre.
When Trinamool chairperson Mamata Banerjee was in a good mood, members of the UPA government, including the alliance partners, are seen smiling, claimed Mr. Bandyopadhyay. But when there was an attempt to introduce anti-people Bills by the government which Ms. Banerjee opposed, members of the government put up a grumpy face, he said referring to the happenings at the UPA coordination committee meeting held earlier this week at New Delhi. Ms. Banerjee attended the meet after skipping an earlier one.
Addressing members of the party’s youth wing “Trinamool Yuva,” Mr. Bandyopadhyay explained the party’s stand and its reasons for opposing the Bills allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail and the one on pension reforms.
“The Congress may feel the need to pass certain Bills... but we will not allow anything to happen which burdens the common man,” he said reiterating that the Trinamool Congress was the second largest party in the UPA-II government.
Mr. Bandyopadhyay said that in the present situation the party had to function while being “extremely alert and vigilant” in Parliament. He said Ms. Banerjee had directed the party MPs to oppose any Bill related to FDI in the retail sector because of the concerns raised by small retailers and shopkeepers.
“Once the big brands get into the retail market… They will dominate the market,” he said.
He said the party opposed the Pension Bill because the government could not ensure returns to the pensioners if the sector was opened up and the funds were used for other activities.