New Delhi, March 16
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Thursday accused the government of orchestrating disruptions in both Houses of Parliament in a bid to sidestep questions raised by the opposition parties on a slew of issues and avoid accountability.
On Thursday, for the first time, the party named the Adani Group in reference to the risk exposure of LIC and SBI, an issue it has been raising for quite some time now.
“The BJP under (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and (Home Minister Amit) Shah are turning Parliament into a deep dark chamber. They do not want Parliament to run because the government has to be accountable to Parliament and then to the people. Modi and Shah don’t want to be accountable to the people so they disrupt Parliament,” said Derek O’Brien, the TMC floor leader in Rajya Sabha.
O’Brien further said the Lok Sabha does not have a deputy speaker for almost four years and the prime minister has not answered a single question in either House of Parliament since 2016.
The Lok Sabha took up only six short-duration discussions, he said, adding “if you go back, it was 59, 55 and 33 in previous sessions.” “In the Rajya Sabha it is similar. Last six years no opposition MP has been given a chance to discuss any issue of importance,” he alleged.
“Mr Modi and Mr Shah have decided that Parliament will not run. The MPs have been asked to stand up and disrupt. This suits a government which does not want to be accountable to the people,” said O’Brien.
TMC MP Sougata Ray alleged that the government was scared of discussing the Adani issue.
The two MPs said that they also wanted to discuss the issue of risk exposure of LIC and CBI, stating that the money at risk in the two public institutions is the money of the people.
“We raised this issue in the earlier session. The TMC is very clear that we want a Supreme Court-monitored probe, the other parties want a JPC (joint parliamentary committee). All opposition parties...are on the same page—we want an enquiry,” O’Brien said.
One of the reasons why the TMC decided not to demand a JPC is that the chairperson and most of its members would be from the BJP, he said, adding JPC means putting the issue under the carpet.
“What is stopping the CBI and the ED from investigating the man who looted 140 crore Indians. Let us get to the bottom of this LIC-SBI issue. No protecting the Adani Group. If Modi wants to protect the Adani Group, we appeal to all the state governments run by our friends in the opposition to stop the plunder and loot of the common people,” he said.
In response to a question on why the TMC did not sign a joint letter or join the opposition march over the issue, he said the Congress party needs to make up its mind.
“In Tripura you will be friends with the Left, that’s your choice, in Bengal you will fight us tooth and nail....then in Meghalaya before the election you will write a litany (of charges) on how bad TMC is.... Then one of your senior parliamentarians and leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha will everyday make wild charges,” he said, referring to Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
“TMC is very clear that you can’t have separate rules. So, with this kind of situation and the kind of statements being issued everyday against the TMC leadership in Bengal, we won’t sign a letter on a Congress party letterhead. It is not possible. This is the reality,” he said.
The two leaders also said the TMC does not have an electoral alliance with the Congress.
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