Trinamool will take fight to Parliament


Contentious issues like Insurance and Coal Bills on the table

With the Trinamool Congress in a combative mood after the arrest of West Bengal Transport and Sports Minister Madan Mitra by the CBI in the multi-crore Saradha chit-fund scam, proceedings in both Houses of Parliament are likely to be disrupted on Monday.

On Friday West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that “we will protest against the Centre in Bengal and Delhi; we will protest in Parliament.” Apart from protesting at the entrance to Parliament House on Monday morning, Lok Sabha member Saugata Roy said there would be a demonstration inside the House also. He did not divulge details on what was being planned but this session has already seen Trinamool members use black umbrellas, don black shawls and cover their mouths with black bands to register protest on various issues.

The government business also has several contentious issues; chief among them the Insurance Bill and the Coal Bill. And, Opposition notices in both Houses against the government’s decision to amend the Central Excise Act to hike excise duty on petrol and diesel have been admitted.

On the Coal Bill, the Congress and the Left are on the same page. While their demand for a Standing Committee reference was turned down in the Lok Sabha, Opposition plans to use its numbers in the Rajya Sabha to press for referring the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill to a Select Committee for proper scrutiny.

The informal collective within the Opposition that has been holding out against the government in both Houses is divided on the Insurance Bill as the Congress supported the recommendations made by the Select Committee which submitted its report last week. Though the government is keen on getting the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill passed this session and is scheduled to move it on Tuesday in the Rajya Sabha, it may not be smooth sailing as the Congress has said its support would depend on the details of the draft legislation.

As for the excise duty hike on petro products, the Business Advisory Committee of the Rajya Sabha has scheduled an hour each for taking up the statutory motion moved by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for amending the government notification and another for the Trinamool notice seeking annulment of the same order.

Two similar notices on the same issue — one given jointly by the Congress and the Revolutionary Socialist Party, and another by the Trinamool Congress — in the Lok Sabha have also been admitted. With the Congress joining the Left in raising this issue, chances of the statutory motion being adopted by the Rajya Sabha have brightened; resulting in yet another embarrassment for the government at a time when it is already feeling the heat in Parliament.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 12:37:12 PM |

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