KOLKATA: Amid the ongoing acrimony between the West Bengal government and Raj Bhavan, the ruling Trinamool Congress is likely to bring a substantive motion against Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar in the Rajya Sabha in the upcoming budget session of Parliament, a senior party MP said on Thursday.
A substantive motion is a self-contained, independent proposal submitted for the approval of the House and drafted in such a way as to be capable of expressing a decision of the House.
At a virtual meeting of the TMC parliamentary party in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, it was also decided that the MPs will take up the issue of alleged attack on the federal structure and “efforts by the Centre” to snatch away the states’ rights, including its recent proposal to amend the IAS (Cadre) rules.
Although the issue regarding floor coordination with the Congress was not discussed, a section of the TMC MPs said the party is likely to adopt a “flexible approach” on this.
In the last winter session of Parliament, the party had decided against engaging in any form of floor coordination with the Congress.
“At the meeting, Rajya Sabha Chief whip Sukhendu Shekhar Ray spoke about bringing in a substantive motion against the governor in the Rajya Sabha during the Budget session,” a senior TMC MP said on condition of anonymity.
It has been decided that Ray will bring in the motion, he said.
“The way the governor is meddling in the jurisdiction of the state is unprecedented. He is trying to create a problem and a controversy every day,” he said.
On January 25, while speaking to the media after paying floral tributes at the statue of B R Ambedkar on the Assembly premises on the National Voters Day, the governor not only castigated the Speaker and the chief minister for allegedly not providing the information he had sought, but also described the political condition in West Bengal as “horrible and frightening”.
A day later, Speaker Biman Banerjee said that in future his office might enquire about the purpose of any visit by Dhankhar to the Assembly, other than constitutionally mandatory appearances such as the governor’s address at the inaugural session of the House.
Since he took charge in 2019, Dhankhar has had several run-ins with the West Bengal government over various issues.
The TMC MP said the issues related to the alleged attack on the federal structure of the country would be raised in both Houses of Parliament.
“We will raise the issue of (proposed amendments to) IAS cadre rules, attack on federal structure, attempt to undermine the authority of states, especially opposition ruled states, discrimination in the distribution of Covid vaccines, the BSF’s increased jurisdiction and bank privatisation,” he said.
Till Wednesday, nine non-BJP ruled states have opposed the Centre’s proposal that gives it an overriding power while deciding on central deputation of IAS officers, whereas eight others have given their consent.
The West Bengal CM had twice written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi opposing the proposed amendment to the IAS (Cadre) Rules claiming that it would lead to destruction of democracy.
When asked whether anything was discussed about floor coordination with the Congress, several TMC MPs replied in the negative.
“Most likely, this time we will adopt a flexible approach. We will continue to function as an opposition party. We have our own identity. We will raise issues concerning the masses, like weakening the federal structure.”
“We will ask all opposition parties, including the Congress, to join us. Now whether they will join us or not depends on them,” a TMC MP said.
The relationship between the Congress and the TMC had hit an all-time low in 2021.
The TMC had slammed the grand old party over its alleged failure to fight against the BJP and dubbed it as an “incapable and incompetent” party that has gone into a “deep freezer”.
The Congress has recently turned down the TMC’s offer for an alliance in the upcoming Goa assembly polls.