The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trinamul pulls out of session

Calcutta, June 23: Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress has decided to boycott the monsoon session of the Assembly, beginning Thursday.

“We shall boycott the monsoon session to protest against the reign of terror unleashed by the CPM across Bengal. This is the last resort left with us to expose the ruling party’s misrule,” said city mayor Subrata Mukherjee.

The party would stick to its decision irrespective of whether the Congress joins it, the mayor, who is also a Congress MLA, said tonight. “We (Trinamul) are the principal Opposition party and the decision to boycott the session is unanimous,” Mukherjee added.

Mamata okayed the decision at a meeting last month, Trinamul sources said.

The Trinamul move follows its allegations of widespread violence against the CPM in the panchayat and municipality polls. The party had failed to put up candidates against CPM nominees in many seats in the two elections.

The CPM leadership, worried about the fate of the Assembly session, appealed Trinamul to reconsider the decision. “It is better if Trinamul reconsiders its decision and joins the monsoon session,” the party said.

In the absence of 60 Trinamul legislators, the Opposition will be represented in the House by 20 Congress MLAs and two from the SUCI.

Speaker Hasim Abdul Halim said boycotting the Assembly was a step in the wrong direction. “It is unfortunate that grievances of those people who had elected Trinamul Congress legislators will remain unrepresented in the House. I want everybody to participate in the country’s democratic process,” he said.

Thirteen bills, including one on a one-time tax on motor vehicles, will be presented in the Assembly during the session.

Congress general secretary Manas Bhunia felt boycotting the session would not help the Opposition fight the Communists. “We had a plan to bring about a no-confidence motion against the government and expected Trinamul to be with us. Their decision will help the communists..,” he said.

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