New Delhi, Sept. 3: The Left and the Trinamul Congress have both promised to oppose the passage of the pension reform bill that the government plans to push with the BJP’s support.
The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) bill was listed for passage in the Lok Sabha today but was stalled because of protests over various issues. One of them was the fuel price hike, which found Trinamul and the Left on the same side.
Asked about the two opponents taking up the same issue (pension reform bill), CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said: “Issues are important for us.... In the Rajya Sabha today I supported Trinamul MP Derek O’Brien when he raised the organ donation issue.”
Sources in the two parties said they would compete with each other to protest against the pension bill since both considered it anti-people. The idea was to extract maximum political mileage in an election year, they said.
“We will strongly oppose the pension bill. We had not allowed it to come till we were in the government,” Trinamul leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said. Trinamul had blocked changes to the PFRDA bill in the cabinet and also stopped the government from bringing it in Parliament last year.
The Left is equally firm in its opposition but the government has secured the support of the BJP to push the bill.
“At a time when the rupee is sliding, the government wants to increase the FDI ceiling in pension fund. It is very dangerous for the people,” Yechury said.
He, however, indicated that the combined strength of the Left and Trinamul would not be able to block the bill if the two principal parties, the Congress and the BJP, unite.
“Both the Congress and the BJP are very comfortable with economic reforms and they have a majority in both Houses of Parliament,” Yechury said and added the Left would coordinate with other like-minded parties against the “anti-people” measure.
Earlier in the day, the Left and Trinamul MPs rushed to the well of the Lok Sabha every time the House assembled after adjournments and shouted slogans against rise in prices of diesel and petrol and demanded a roll-back.
“Stop repeated hike of diesel and petrol prices,” at least a dozen Left MPs were heard shouting. On the same line, 8-10 Trinamul MPs screamed “roll back, roll backů” slogans. The two sides took position on either side of the well without the acrimony that was witnessed recently during the discussion over the land acquisition bill.