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Eye on ethics panel and polls, TMC toes govt line in House

A senior party MP has reportedly been entrusted with the task of ensuring that the panel takes a favourable view.

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EVER SINCE the Budget Session resumed last month, the Trinamool Congress — which has been doing a tightrope walk since the Saradha scam, carefully avoiding anti-government positions while also hanging on to the opposition formation in the Rajya Sabha — has been seen to be veering more towards the government.

This change is partly a spillover of the West Bengal electoral battle, where the Trinamool Congress is fighting an undeclared Congress-Left alliance. Moreover, the party also wants to ensure that the Lok Sabha ethics committee clears its five MPs in the Narada sting case — eight of the 15 members in the ethics panel are from the BJP.

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A senior party MP has reportedly been entrusted with the task of ensuring that the panel takes a favourable view. The MP, in fact, took a break from campaigning last month, and caught a flight to Delhi to express his condolences to panel chairman L K Advani on the death of his wife.

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In the Rajya Sabha, the TMC took the BJP’s line on the AgustaWestland issue, with MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy even being suspended for a day for his insistence on dragging the names of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her political secretary Ahmed Patel into the debate. So when TMC MP Saugata Roy seemed critical of the ruling party in the Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar asked why the party had changed its stand.

The TMC also voted with the government in the Lok Sabha on the Uttarakhand finance Bill, taking the plea that it was fait accompli and not passing the Bill would render all expenses incurred by the state government during President’s Rule infructuous.

Meanwhile, following its MP Dinesh Trivedi’s “anti-party” remarks, the TMC on Tuesday issued a warning to all its MPs against deviating from the party line.

Trivedi had earlier said that if he was the party supremo, he would not have roped in the MPs under probe in the Narada case in the West Bengal poll campaign.

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The party, according to sources, also did not take kindly to his remark, during a conversation in the Central Hall of Parliament, on the possibility of the Congress-Left alliance winning a majority.

Trivedi, however, said on Wednesday that he had sorted out the matter with the party’s Lok Sabha leader Sudip Bandopadhyay. “There was confusion, nobody takes anything said in the Central Hall seriously but one of our MPs twisted my comments and created confusion. I have now been told not to say anything in the Central Hall and I said its alright. So, everything is sorted out and I am having tea with Sudip now,” said Trivedi.

“I have not gone back on any public statements that I have made in the past, and I will not do so,” he added.

First published on: 12-05-2016 at 01:36 IST
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