The Times of India – Didi does most of the talking at opposition meet, shows who is the boss

Mohua Chatterjee

New Delhi, 28 December 2016. Trinamool Congress boss and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee kept up her clear lead at the anti-demonetisation forum of opposition parties when eight of them met here on Tuesday after successfully blocking the government in the winter session of Parliament.

If the coming together of 15 opposition parties in Parliament was initiated by Mamata, she was also the prime mover of Tuesday’s meeting.

The 30-minute meeting called by the Congress leadership, where 11 leaders representing eight parties were present, saw the TMC chief holding sway, doing most of the talking, while still accommodating others, who seemed to allow her the space she wanted.

Sources said in the deliberations before the joint press conference, Mamata argued for escalation of the protest.

Besides Mamata, Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge from Congress, Mukul Roy and Derek O’Brien of TMC, Thiruchi Siva of DMK, Jay Prakash Yadav of RJD, Badruddin Ajmal of AIUDF and one member each from JMM, IUML and JD(S) were part of the brain storming session in Delhi.

Interestingly, to ensure that it was a platform where all participants were equals, nobody sat at the head of the table or at the tail-end and both seats remained unoccupied.

It was decided that the opposition parties will hold at least four public meetings in different parts of the country against demonetisation and a common agenda will be charted out. A follow-up meeting could be held in January, Banerjee told reporters.

At the press conference where Rahul and Banerjee did most of the talking, the TMC chief took the lead in demanding PM Modi’s resignation. The Bengal CM said she was in touch with all parties who had opposed note ban, including those like AAP and National Conference which were not present at the meeting.

“The government tried to blame the opposition for disrupting Parliament but it failed to tell the House which is the greatest forum in our democracy about such a big decision (demonetisation) which is totally unethical.

If they (government) could pass a disability bill and tax legislation in the din, why could it not lay on the table about demonetisation,” Mamata said.


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