Congress’ Parliament session dilemma is to play along ‘predator AITC’

Congress MPs will seek a legal framework for minimum support price for crops and press for resignation of Union MoS for home Ajay Mishra over the Lakhimpur incident in the winter session of Parliament. The party will, however, not force a washout of the session, Congress leaders said after a meeting of the Congress Committee on Parliamentary Affairs at Sonia Gandhi’s residence on Thursday. Congress members will also participate in procedure and discussions when the government brings bills to repeal the farms laws.

As is customary, the Congress committee authorised leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge to reach out to leaders of other opposition parties to maximise floor coordination on common issues during the session that begins on Monday. “We will fight the issue of farm laws. We have prepared a list of 15-16 issues on which we can reach an agreement and fight unitedly in Parliament against BJP,” Kharge told media persons.

Congress leaders are livid by AITC’s incessant poaching of its leaders and MLAs, but are also conscious that as main opposition, Congress has to retain the lead role of playmaker. “As the principal opposition, the Congress party recognises our responsibility and duty to take initiatives to reach out and coordinate with other opposition parties to unitedly rally against wrong policies and legislations of the government. We shall do that,” Congress RS deputy leader Anand Sharma said.

While AICC spokespersons and party leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury vented the party’s anger over AITC’s ‘retail and wholesale’ poaching of Congress leaders and legislators, the Congress leadership, as well other opposition parties, recognised its limitations. AITC’s non-cooperation could lead to emergence of an opposition bloc led by it, further undermining Congress reach. Many feel AITC chief Mamata Banerjee may no longer allow her MPs to remain supporting cast of Congress but would let them steal the show, perhaps in coordination with MPs of AAP and SP, with an eye on the forthcoming polls in Punjab and UP.

Chowdhury expectedly slammed Banerjee’s Meghalaya operation before the meeting. “This conspiracy to break Congress is happening not only in Meghalaya, but the whole of northeast. I challenge CM Mamata Banerjee to first elect them on AITC’s symbol before formally welcoming them to her party,” he said. On Banerjee not meeting Gandhi, he said, “if she meets Sonia Gandhi now, then Modi will be angry. Her actions changed soon after her nephew was summoned by ED.”

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