Parliament Winter session | National

Opposition presents a united front

Opposition Party MPs staging a protest demonstration against the Suspension of 12 MP's in front of the Gandhi Statue at Parliament house in New Delhi, on November 30, 2021.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

The Opposition on Tuesday presented a united front with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the Trinamool Congress, albeit reluctantly, joining the protest on the 12 MPs’ suspension issue.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi chaired a meeting of the floor leaders of Opposition parties both in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha at 10:00 a.m. in Parliament. The TRS participated in the meeting but the TMC stayed away.

 

During the meet, he urged the Opposition parties to forget their differences in the larger interest of the country and present a united front in Parliament. Though he did not back the complete boycott of the winter session of Parliament, he urged the Opposition to keep up the protests backing for “optics with content”.

Walkout in RS

At the end of the meeting, the Opposition parties met Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu but could not make much headway. After Mr. Naidu rejected their demand in the House to revoke the suspension, the Opposition parties walked out. The TMC, though deliberately stayed back, to maintain its distance from the rest of the Congress-led bloc.

The parties then held an impromptu protest at the Gandhi statue on the Parliament premises, where the suspended TMC MPs- Dola Sen and Shanta Chetri too joined in along with other party MPs.

Also read | Parliament clears Farm Laws Repeal Bill without a debate

The Opposition held another round of meeting, where it was decided that the 12 suspended MPs will hold a sit-in till the end of the Parliament session at the Gandhi statue. The TMC again skipped this meeting but they too confirmed their participation.

‘Issues are common’

Speaking to reporters, senior TMC leader Derek O’ Brien observed that there were common issues that all Opposition parties were together on and no party particularly needed to attend meetings. He pointed out that unlike many other Opposition parties like the Shiv Sena and the RJD, the TMC was not in any alliance with the Congress.

“The focus of some of the friends in the media is who is going for the Opposition meeting and who is not. That is not the problem. Our issues are common. The problem is we have to stop the fascist BJP government from trying to run Delhi and Parliament like they ran Gujarat. Different political parties will have a different tactic. There was a broad agreement that for one day, we will walk out. We can’t leave the Opposition benches empty. One party spoke first and left. They are the largest party. After that, the TMC was given a chance to speak and we presented our point,” he said.

 

He clarified that the TMC did not have an electoral alliance with any party. “Just because we do not follow the strategy of a certain party, it does not make us the B-team of the BJP,” he remarked.

TRS against BJP

The TRS’s new found belligerence against the BJP has incidentally coincided with the former’s defeat in the Huzurabad bypoll to the latter. The Congress was a distant third. The party, which was not at the forefront of protests in Parliament, when the farm laws were brought in, have been carrying around anti-government placards since the beginning of the winter session. It forced an adjournment in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday protesting against the government ‘faulty’ paddy procurement policy under which the centre is ‘refusing’ to pick up any parboiled rice from Telangana.

Speaking to The Hindu, TRS Rajya Sabha leader K. Keshava Rao said,

“We have always been with the Opposition and have always opposed the BJP. Whenever the BJP contested against us, barring a few instances, they have lost their deposit.”

When pointed out the TRS had voted with the government on many controversial legislations, including the nullification of Article 370, he stated that the party voted with the government whenever a bill was in the larger interest of the nation.


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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 10:24:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/opposition-presents-a-united-front-tmc-trs-join-protests/article37775023.ece

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