The rivalry between the Congress and the Trinamool in West Bengal might cast a long shadow on the Opposition unity in Parliament, at least during the second the budget session due to start from April 25.
The Trinamool reacted sharply to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s accusations during an election rally where she drew a parallel between West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
With the party launching a rare attack on the top Congress leadership, Trinamool sources said chances of supporting the Congress on key issues against the NDA government in Parliament, is unlikely, at least for the time being.
“We are fighting against the Congress here. The Congress chief has actually launched a no-holds barred attack on us. How can they expect our help in Parliament?” said a senior leader. The Opposition unity is crucial for the Congress as it can stall key bills or force the BJP to come at a negotiating table. Trinamool is the fourth largest party in Parliament and has 12 MPs in Rajya Sabha where the government is in minority.
“We know why you said what you did today. The circle is now complete: Sonia and Modi are on the same side. Mamata Banerjee is on the other side. In Bengal your party is a facsimile of the Communists. In Delhi, you play along with the BJP government,” Trinamool’s national spokesperson Derek O’Brien said on Wednesday, responding to Gandhi’s political onslaught.
Trinamool had often lent crucial support to the Congress in Parliament. “When 23 Congress MPs were suspended by Lok Sabha speaker, we had also walked out in protest,” said a Trinamool MP.
The second budget session will also coincide with the ongoing assembly polls in West Bengal where the Congress and Trinamool are at loggerheads.
“The Sonia-Modi arrangement is so neat, it has reduced national politics to a protection racket,” said Derek.