The Trinamool Congress, the ruling party in West Bengal and one of the important constituents of the opposition INDIA bloc, seems to be clueless about how to utilize the floor of Parliament during the forthcoming special session from September 18 to September 22.
The first obvious reason behind such cluelessness is the unclear agenda of the special session although this factor is common to all the constituents of the INDIA grouping. The leader of the party in the Rajya Sabha Derek O'Brien has already claimed that since the full agenda of the special session is yet to be revealed, there is apprehension that the Union government may add more business to the list at a later stage. It is not yet clear whether the party has issued a whip for its MPs to be present in the House during the special session.
However, there are some other reasons behind this cluelessness that are exclusive to the Trinamool Congress, feel political observers. The first reason is the prolonged absence of the chief minister and Trinamool Congress’s national president Mamata Banerjee, who always outlines the strategy for the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members of her party before any session of Parliament.
She is currently on a 11-day tour of Spain and Dubai to scout investments for West Bengal and will be returning to the country on September 23 by when the special session will be over.
In addition to that, the second-in-command of the party and national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee was unable to take part in the first coordination committee meeting of the “INDIA” bloc on September 13, because of his appearance at the Enforcement Directorate office in Kolkata on that day for interrogation in connection with the multi- crore cash-for- school job case in West Bengal.
Trinamool Congress insiders admit that if he had attended the meeting he could have discussed the agenda of the opposition for the special session. They said that probably the all-party meeting on September 17 might throw some light on the agenda of the special session and on the basis of that some party strategy will be chalked out.
The only preparation that the Trinamool Congress has started is related to the bill on the selection procedure for the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners, following instructions from the chief minister that she sent from Madrid on Thursday night.
She has instructed her party leaders to oppose the bill tooth and nail since it proposes to exclude the Chief Justice of India from the panel for selection of the CEC and ECs.
At the same time, there have been hints from Trinamool Congress’s national leaders like Derek O'Brien that if the opportunity arises issues like the Women’s Reservation Bill and the Manipur situation might be raised in Parliament.
However, political commentator Amal Sarkar feels that there can be yet another reason why the Trinamool Congress is maintaining a low profile on its strategy for the special session.
“The reason are the differences between the Trinamool Congress and the Congress over a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the recent developments concerning the Adani Group. While the Congress especially their leader Rahul Gandhi has been constantly pushing for a JPC probe in the matter, the Trinamool Congress has expressed reservations claiming that probe panels yield nothing. Probably, this is why the ruling party in the state is maintaining a low profile in the matter so that its differences with the Congress do not surface again before the special session of Parliament,” Sarkar said.