Mamata Banerjee elected Trinamool Parliamentary Party chairperson

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was unanimously chosen as the chairperson of its Parliamentary Party placing her in a pivotal position to coordinate with the other opposition parties.

After TMC’s victory in West Bengal Assembly elections in May this year, the party has been positioning itself as unifier for all opposition parties, a role that the Congress as single largest opposition party has been playing so far. The Congress often finds itself constrained since it is a political opponent to many of the regional parties in different States.

Party’s Rajya Sabha leader MP Derek O'Brien at a press conference in Delhi said Ms. Banerjee has been the guiding force behind the parliamentary party for a long time.

“We are just formalising a reality. Our chairperson is a seven time member of Parliament. She has the vision to guide the parliamentary party. She has the experience and insight. She was anyway guiding us. The decision has been taken both at a conceptual and tactical level. She has always been a call away. We feel more empowered,” Mr. O’Brien said.

The announcement comes just days ahead of Ms Banerjee’s Delhi visit where she is expected to meet a host of opposition leaders. On TMC invitation on July 21 leaders from the Congress, DMK, AAP, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, Akali Dal and many others had remotely joined its Martyrs Day event.

“She is the leader of the second largest opposition party in the Parliament. And we don’t have problems like the Congress does. With U.P. elections round the corner, the Samajwadi Party will not like to be seen with the Congress. And with Punjab elections the Akalis would not be part of any platform organised by the Congress,” a senior TMC leader said. If Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs are put together the TMC has 33 MPs, second to Congress’s 86 MPs.

Ms Banerjee is not an MP or an MLA. In recent Assembly elections, she had lost the Nandigram seat by a slender margin to TMC rebel Suvendu Adhikari. However, there are no rules prohibiting an unelected person from leading lead a parliamentary party.

Mr O’Brien also criticised the move to suspend party MP Shantanu Sen from the Rajya Sabha, a day after he snatched and tore a statement that IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was reading. “We consider Sen’s suspension as malicious and arbitrary. We condemn it. The order was without any justification and has no provision in law,” he said. TMC Chief whip Sukendu Sekhar Ray added that the BJP can “suspend us but people will suspend them.”

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 5:36:44 AM |

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