New Delhi, April 29: Trinamul Congress MPs led by Mamata Banerjee chatted in Parliaments Central Hall as Pranab Mukherjee replied to the debate on finance bill proposals to a packed treasury bench and a healthy presence of Opposition members in the Lok Sabha today.
The act, that left the Congress fuming, was dubbed by Trinamul as a protest against the finance ministers refusal to withdraw service tax on railway freight and also to intervene in the ongoing tussle over seats for the Bengal civic polls.
Trinamul members led by Mamata were seen entering the House only after the finance minister had completed his reply and voting on the proposals were taken up.
Just as Speaker Meira Kumar said those in favour may say yes
, the railway minister entered with her MPs.
As she left Parliament, Mamata had just one line to say. Asked about the service tax not being withdrawn, she said: We are not going to fight on every issue.
We respected alliance dharma and reached in time, Trinamul leader and minister of state for rural development Sisir Adhikari said, but refused to elaborate.
Earlier, parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Bansal and his junior V. Narayansamy were taken aback to see Mamata and her MPs chatting over snacks in the Central Hall. Dont worry. We are committed to the alliance and will reach in time, Mamata had told a rattled Bansal.
Trinamul MPs said Mamata took the decision to boycott Mukherjees reply. Despite repeated pleas by our leader, Pranabda refused to withdraw the service tax levied on railways. The Congress should be happy we adopted a sympathetic way of protesting, an MP said.