The Upper House, holding its first sitting of the Budget session, witnessed upset Trinamool Congress members who staged a walkout, charging the government with “political vendetta” citing the arrest of their sitting Lok Sabha MPs for the alleged chit fund scam in West Bengal. TMC chief whip Sudip Bandopadhyay and MP Tapas Paul were arrested by the CBI last month.
The charges levelled by the TMC members were strongly rejected by the government and told that no opposition political party is targeted.
Raising the issue in Zero hour on Thursday, senior TMC Derek O’Brien said since the party has been opposing the decision to scrap old Rs 500/1000 currency notes, the Centre was sending its investigating agencies after opposition leaders to “scare” them.
Trinamool Congress and its chief Mamata Banerjee have been opposing the demonetisation move soon after it was announced by PM Modi on November 8 last year. It were among the first parties to have taken their protest at the President’s door after it held a protest march from Parliament to Rashtrapati Bhavan on the first day of Parliament’s Winter session.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, along with AAP, National Conference and other leaders had led the march, where the BJP-ally Shiv Sena too had participated.
Further stressing that TMC will strongly oppose the any act of “political vendetta” against the opposition, O’Brien said, “exactly what we had feared has happened… Lok Sabha leader of TMC was called and arrested on January 3.”
“Why this political vendetta is happening…The more you do political vendetta, the more it will firm our resolve to fight you on demonetisation,” he added further charging that the same could happen with members of other 15-16 opposition political parties.
Another MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said as the government is indulged in “witch-hunting”, the party would stage walkout, and the members left the House thereafter.
The party had skipped attending the presentation of Budget on Wednesday, citing the occasion of celebrating Saraswati Puja in West Bengal but there were reports that TMC was upset over recent arrests of its MPs.
Responding to the TMC’s charges, MoS Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that on the issue of corruption, the government was following a policy of “zero tolerance” and it had no role in the arrest of two MPs.
“Law will take its course against whoever is responsible for corruption…chit fund (scam). Where is the vendetta,” Naqvi said.