Keeping up its protest against demonetisation, Trinamool Congress today said its MPs will not attend Parliament on the first two days of the session beginning tomorrow, when the President’s address and Budget will be presented, and also decided to skip all-party meetings. “Trinamool MPs will not be present in Parliament on the first two days of the Budget Session in protest against demonetisation which was implemented without taking Parliament into confidence,” TMC chief whip in the Lok Sabha Kalyan Banerjee told reporters after the TMC parliamentary party meeting here chaired by party supremo Mamata Banerjee.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the budget on February 1. The party also decided to skip the all-party meetings called by the government and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan today in the national capital stating that its parliamentary party meeting was already scheduled here earlier. The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal has been at the loggerheads with the Modi government over the issue of demonetisation and the arrest of its two MPs by CBI in connection with alleged chitfund scam.
Kalyan Banerjee said in the ensuing session TMC will, among other things, raise the issue of the “illegal arrest” of its Lok Sabha leader Sudip Bandopadhyay and another MP Tapas Pal, alleging it “is a clear case of political vendetta by the ruling party at the centre by misusing CBI and abusing its power”. To a question, he said that Sudip Bandopadhyay will continue to be their leader in the Lok Sabha.
“He is our leader and will continue to be our leader”, Banerjee said. Bandopadhyay and Pal were arrested by CBI in connection with Rose Valley chit fund scam. Banerjee, however, said that senior party MP Saugata Roy has been appointed as the deputy leader in the Lok Sabha. On whether it was “boycott”, he said “It is open for your interpretation”.
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Earlier in the day, party leader and MP Derek O’Brien had said that Trinamool will not attend Parliament on February 1 because of Saraswati Puja “which is a big day in Bengal”. He said that on Saraswati Puja, there is a custom of keeping away from work and not even touching the tools.”Saraswati Puja is beyond a religious festival. It is a socio-cultural festival of Bengal,” he added. Asked whether the party was “boycotting” these proceedings or just skipping, he too replied, “It is open for your interpretation”.
To a query about TMC’s coordination with other political parties, Kalyan Banerjee said, “We have one point agenda of removing Narendra Modi. We will be with those who will also work in that direction”. Saugata Roy told reporters, “We are working together. Our party supremo has given us the direction and we will work accordingly”.