Politics

As Mamata goes on induction spree, Trinamool’s sitting Rajya Sabha MPs fear for their seats

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, with former Congress leader Kirti Azad, after the latter joined the Trinamool Congress in New Delhi Tuesday. | ANI
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, with former Congress leader Kirti Azad, after the latter joined the Trinamool Congress in New Delhi Tuesday. | ANI


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New Delhi: The Trinamool Congress is hoping to increase its footprint nationally with a slew of new members, but there is unease among the party’s Rajya Sabha MPs. The reason? With several high profile entries from across the political spectrum — and speculation about more to come — there are apprehensions that sitting MPs in the Upper House may be asked to make way for the new entrants.

The Trinamool has 12 Rajya Sabha MPs, and party circles are now abuzz with speculation that their performance is being closely scrutinised, on parameters such as how many questions have they asked during sessions, how many interventions they have made, and how active they are on the floor of the House.

The party had already asked MP Arpita Ghosh to put in her papers some time back to make way for former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro. Faleiro, who joined the party only a few months back, has now been elected to that seat. Ghosh was just a year into her tenure when she was asked to step down.

During her three-day visit to the national capital (22 to 25 November), Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inducted three former MPs — Kirti Azad and Ashok Tanwar from the Congress and Pavan Varma from the JD(U) — into the party fold.

Another BJP MP, Subramanian Swamy, also met her. While he has not joined the party yet, he said: “I am already joined, no need to officially do so.” The timing of his meeting with Banerjee has, however, caused speculation. Swamy’s Rajya Sabha tenure ends in April 2022.

Former Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma has also joined the Trinamool, along with 11 others. Sangma is an MLA in Meghalaya. Just before the assembly elections in West Bengal earlier this year, former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, once a BJP stalwart, had also joined the Trinamool.

“We are getting a lot of very senior leaders. There is no doubt that they can lend their heft to whatever roles the party decides for them. But it is ultimately Didi’s decision and we are all soldiers of the party, who will abide by whatever she tells us and what is in the best interest of the nation and the party,” a Trinamool MP told ThePrint on condition of anonymity.


Also read: Why Mamata made Trinamool MPs shift Delhi dharna venue from Amit Shah’s home to North Block


‘Parliament sessions have been disrupted’

While Trinamool MPs say they are willing to take whatever course they are asked to, several names are already doing the rounds in party circles as the ones that may face the axe.

“But this is all party grapevine. There are some others whose performances are being scrutinised. We will know when a decision is taken,” said a party insider.

An MP, however, told ThePrint that it would be unfair to link all resignations to performance in Parliament.

“Nobody can question Arpita’s performance. These are decisions taken by the party and such associations should not be drawn. How much has the Upper House functioned in the last few years to make an impartial assessment?” the MP asked.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)


Also read: TMC instigating trouble in Tripura, is worse than Taliban, says Union minister Pratima Bhoumik


 

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