TMC meet for ‘Counter UPA’ strategy today

Winter session TMC keen to form non-Cong, non-Left, non-BJP front.

To counter the Congress-led UPA II government during the winter session of Parliament, beginning November 22, the Trinamool Congress will chalk out its strategy at a meeting of its parliamentary party on Saturday at the Writers' Buildings. The meeting will be headed by party chief Mamata Banerjee.

"We will counter the Congress-led UPA II on all issues in Parliament. Details about our move will be decided at tomorrow's meeting," said Trinamool MP Sultan Ahmed.

Insiders said the party, which was part of the UPA II till two months ago, will try to forge a common front of all non-Congress, non-BJP and non-Left Front parties' MPs to put up a "united fight" against the proposed pension bill, which is expected to be tabled in Parliament. Also, the party could seek a vote in Lok Sabha on the issue of allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail trade.

This will be the first time since 2009 Lok Sabha elections when Trinamool Congress MPs will occupy the opposition benches in Parliament.

"We have launched a war against FDI in retail trade and we will not let UPA II go unopposed in Parliament on the issue. We will discuss at tomorrow's meet whether a vote can be sought on this issue during the winter session," Ahmed said.

After pulling out support from the Manmohan Singh government on September 18 over diesel price hike and FDI in retail, Mamata floated the idea of forming a federal front and urged regional parties to join it. Small outfits like JMM (Vikash Parishad) responded to her idea and its chief Babulal Marandi met her last month. "We expect more regional parties will accept Mamata's call and we will try to get them on board," said another Trinamool MP.

"I don't know whether any progress about formation of a federal front has taken place. What is definite is that we will play the role of a responsible opposition party in Parliament from now," said party MP Saugata Roy.

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