TMC plans to bring parties opposed to NDA, Cong on board for House session

New Delhi: The Trinamool Congress (TMC), the second-largest opposition force in Parliament after the Congress, is looking at the possibility of stitching a sub-group within the opposition camp with parties that are opposed to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) but also not at ease with the Congress, people familiar with the matter said.

The plan, prompted in part by the results of the last round of assembly elections in which West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee succeeded in containing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), could cast a shadow on the Opposition’s floor management and the unity of the non-NDA parties during Parliament’s monsoon session starting July 19.

The TMC is well placed to work closely with parties from the anti-Congress platform such as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which have a working relationship with the Trinamool. The West-Bengal based party also hopes to bring Samajwadi Party (SP) in this sub-group since Akhilesh Yadav’s outfit might be averse to follow the Congress agenda ahead of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

“The assembly election has changed many equations. We want to set the agenda of the Opposition in this session,” said a senior TMC leader on Friday, “The other problem for the Congress is they don’t have leaders who can reach out to parties such as Akali Dal, SP or AAP. So, someone will have to bring these parties to a common platform and no one better than Trinamool can do that”.

The aggressive plan will also sync with Banerjee’s first visit to Delhi after her third straight victory in the recent assembly election. Banerjee will be in Delhi for five days and Trinamool leaders said she would also visit Parliament for “at least two days”. Banerjee was a seven-term MP from West Bengal before she left Parliament in 2011.

The TMC and Congress also appear to differ on the agenda for the Opposition. While Congress is keen to raise the Rafale issue after the appointment of a French judge to probe into suspected “corruption and favoritism” in the ₹59,000 crore deal for 36 fighter jets, TMC’s prime pick is price rise and farm bills.