NEW DELHI: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress will not be present in parliament when the Union Budget is presented on Wednesday, February 1. Party lawmaker Derek O Brien, writing exclusively for ndtv.com, said Saraswati Puja, an important Bengali festival, is on the same day and so his colleagues and he will be unable to attend parliament. Mr O Brien, writing exclusively for ndtv.com, also said that the Trinamool would skip a meeting of all parties called by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan this evening.
In an official statement the Trinamool Congress said its MPs “will not be present in parliament on the first two days of the Budget Session in protest against demonetisation, which was implemented without taking parliament into confidence, and restrictions on withdrawal limits from bank accounts which are still in force.”
The party said it would bring up during the session, the arrest of two party MPs by the CBI in a chitfund scam. Mamata Banerjee’s party has called it a “clear case of political vendetta by the ruling party at the centre by misusing CBI and abusing its power,” for its aggressive campaign against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s notes ban.
The Budget session of parliament begins tomorrow. Opposition parties have accused the government of advancing the presentation of the Budget by several weeks because it wants to be able to announce sops just ahead of crucial assembly elections in five states. Punjab and Goa will vote on February 4, three days after the Budget, and the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh elections will be held on February 11.
“The BJP government has done this, we suspect, to influence voters in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur and Uttar Pradesh…Our requests and objections relating to the date of the budget being unfair and undemocratic were not heeded by a government that has no time for niceties. Neither was our urge to be culturally sensitive on the occasion of Saraswati Puja, which also falls on February 1, considered,” Derek O Brien wrote.