TMC and Congress set to join hands to take on BJP in Parliament | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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TMC and Congress set to join hands to take on BJP in Parliament

Jun 22, 2024 01:30 AM IST

On Thursday, former Union minister P Chidambaram met Mamata Banerjee in a bid to improve the ties between the two sides

New Delhi After a heated general elections season that saw the Congress and the Trinamool Congress at loggerheads in West Bengal and sharp comments from either side, the two key INDIA bloc allies have reached out to each other to jointly formulate strategies on issues and bolster the Opposition’s united offensive against the government in the upcoming session of Parliament, people aware of developments said on Friday.

The upcoming Parliament session starts from June 24. (ANI)
The upcoming Parliament session starts from June 24. (ANI)

The perceptible thaw in the relationship that had hit a low during the Lok Sabha polls -- TMC chief Mamata Banerjee pulled out of the alliance in West Bengal amid repeated barbs by Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury -- also comes weeks after the latter lost his home seat of Baharampur to the TMC.

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On Thursday, former Union minister P Chidambaram met Banerjee in a bid to improve the ties between the two sides. The two leaders discussed the large number of bills passed in the past 10 years that needed review and better coordination in Parliament, said the people cited above. The Congress even asked Banerjee if she would campaign for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is fighting her maiden election in Kerala’s Wayanad, which her brother Rahul Gandhi vacated earlier this week in favour of Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh.

In the last INDIA meeting before polls, Banerjee had suggested that Priyanka Gandhi should fight against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi. The TMC also wants the Left’s importance to be reduced in the Opposition alliance.

In the INDIA bloc, across both House, the Congress has 125 MPs in Parliament, followed by TMC’s 42 and Samajwadi Party’s 41.

“There is a large section of the Congress leadership that wants a good relationship with the Trinamool,” said TMC’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien.

TMC leaders indicated that with the defeat of Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in the Lok Sabha, a major “roadblock” in the TMC-Congress relationship was removed.

In the upcoming session starting from June 24, the Opposition is set to target the government over the simmering controversy surrounding examinations such as the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) National Eligibility Test (NET) .

”We want a Supreme Court-monitored probe and the system adopted by the NTA needs to be reviewed thoroughly,” said senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

A senior Congress leader pointed out that NEET will be the main issue in the session. “DMK will ask for scrapping of NEET. Karnataka Congress leaders too want NEET to be scrapped. In Maharashtra, the NEET 2024 has become a big issue as not many local students got selected for state colleges,” the leader said, requesting anonymity.

Ramesh agreed. “Time has come to review NEET. It puts state curriculum students at a disadvantage,” he said.

TMC’s Sagarika Ghose also raised the pitch about NEET. ”The Modi-led govt’s sheer governance deficit has been cruelly exposed by the spate of paper leaks of major national competitive exams. Over 70 papers have leaked in the last ten years. And the UGC-NET exam was also cancelled because it was leaked on the darknet. Who is responsible for these paper leaks? Who is the Modi government protecting? What are the permanent solutions?” she asked in a video message.

The three new laws that will replace colonial-era codes from July 1 will be another issue for the Opposition.

Hours after the Banerjee-Chidambaram meeting, the Bengal CM wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to defer the implementation of three new laws and for further discussions on these in Parliament.

“I humbly request you to consider our appeal for a deferment of the implementation of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) 2023, the Bharatiya Sakhsya Adhiniyam (BSA) 2023, and the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanita (BNSS) 2023. We believe that this postponement will enable a renewed Parliamentary review/mandate, reinforce public trust in the legal system, and uphold the rule of law in our beloved country,” Banerjee wrote in her letter on June 20.

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“If you kindly recall, on the 20th of December last year, the outgoing government of yours had passed these three critical bills unilaterally, and with absolutely no debate. That day, almost one hundred members of the Lok Sabha had been suspended and a total 146 MPs of the both Houses were thrown out of the Parliament. The bills were passed in an authoritarian manner in that dark hour of democracy. Matter deserves review now,” she added.

The Opposition parties are set to hold a formal meeting on Monday to fine-tune the strategy for the session.

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