Winter Session: What Explains TMC’s ‘Ekla Cholo Re’ Stance in Parliament?
Despite not wanting to coordinate with the Congress, the TMC will be fighting over many common issues on the floor.
The Trinamool Congress and the Indian National Congress protesting separately in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue shortly before the winter session of the Parliament started, aptly sums up how the equation between the two parties is going to play up this time.
TMC leaders even skipped the Opposition party meeting called by the Congress on Monday, November 29, as the party was “disinterested” in coordinating with the Congress.
This comes amid growing tension between the two parties, as the Trinamool Congress has been on a mass recruitment drive across the country and has engineered the defections of several Congress leaders. These include some notable personalities like ex-Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma, ex-Goa CM Luizinho Falerio, Kirti Azad and Ashok Tanwar.
Sources close to the TMC say that the floor leaders of the respective houses have been asked to coordinate with opposition parties that are against the Modi government but not in alliance with the Congress.
Meanwhile, 12 Rajya Sabha MPs were suspended for the remaining session of the Parliament on Monday, 29 November, after allegedly creating ruckus in the House. Opposition parties issued a joint statement condemning the suspension. The TMC however, were not a signatory even though two of their MPs Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri were also suspended.
But Why Does The TMC Not Want to Coordinate With The Congress?
According to PTI, a senior TMC leader said that the party is "disinterested” in coordinating with the Congress as it believes that the “Congress should first get their house in order before thinking about coordinating with other camps.”
Trinamool’s parliamentary leader in the Rajya Sabha, Derek O’ Brien in a statement to the media, further clarified that the terms of unity with the Congress are different for different parties, especially for the TMC since they are not electorally bound to Congress. In fact, they were electoral rivals a few months ago, during the Bengal elections.
Yes, there will be Opposition unity in Parliament. It is the common issues that will unite the opposition. I also must point out that there is a distinction between the RJD, DMK, RJD and the CPI(M) — they are all electoral allies of the Congress. The NCP-Shiv Sena and JMM run a government with the Congress. The Congress is not our electoral ally nor are we running a government with them. That’s the difference.Derek O Brien, TMC MP, Rajya Sabha
Hence, according to its leaders, the TMC does not need to follow the Congress’ footsteps in parliament.
Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury indirectly took a jibe at the TMC by calling them a BJP ally.
It is our duty to call opposition parties to discuss the issues before (the) Parliament (session), but if they feel that by joining hands with us, they will be seen as opposing the government, they need not do so. Those who do not want to fight the government may not attend.Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress MP
Fighting the Same Fight
The Congress and the TMC were seen protesting separately, against the repealing of the farm laws before the Parliament session began. Even during the session, they protested on the same issue about why the bills were passed without a proper discussion on the floor of the house.
A quick look at the winter session agenda of the TMC and the Congress will show that they share several issues including the farm laws, a guarantee on MSPs, handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising fuel prices, unemployment and snooping using Pegasus, to name a few.
If the first day of the winter session was a sign of things to come, then one can expect the two parties to be fighting the same fight, albeit on slightly different fronts. They will also be seen agreeing with each other on several occasions.
At the end of the day, the Trinamool Congress was formed from Congress, so as much as they would like to deny, they still operate on remarkably similar wavelengths. But as the party tries to expand nationally, it would be trying more often to differentiate itself from the Congress.
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