No compromise on Lokayukta, retail FDI: TMC

Congress ally Trinamool Congress has said there was no question of compromise on the Lokayukta provision, pension bill and FDI in retail.

Kolkata: Amidst strains between the two, Congress ally Trinamool Congress has said there was no question of compromise on the Lokayukta provision, pension
bill and FDI in retail if there was a move to pass them in the Budget Session of Parliament.

"Lokayukta clause should be omitted from the original bill. Trinamool Congress wants Lokpal. The Trinamool Congress is not going to compromise on the federal structure of Constitution," Trinamool Congress General Secretary Mukul Roy
who is a close aide of party chief Mamata Banerjee, told a news agency.

Maintaining that Lokpal was not an isolated issue, Roy, the union minister of state for shipping, felt it was not proper to concentrate power in the Centre`s hands while the state`s rights should be `recognised`.

He noted that the Central List, Concurrent List and the State List had clearly defined subjects and there were no grey areas.

"Lokayukta is a state subject. It is better that the states should be free to decide on Lokayukta", he said. He said that his party would also not compromise on FDI
in retail and the pension bill, which was in its election manifesto, if there was a move to pass them in the budget session of Parliament.

"On issues that will directly hit the common man we will not budge from our opposition. There is no Common Minimum Programme. In a coalition there are bound to be differences," he said.

"TMC support to the UPA government is also to champion the common people`s interests," he said.

With Trinamool Congress being the second largest constituent in the UPA government with 19 Lok Sabha members, Roy said that the party`s strength in the Rajya Sabha was likely to increase as five sitting Rajya Sabha members from
Bengal, including four from Left parties, were due to retire in April this year.

The Trinamool Congress has six Rajya Sabha members, including Mukul Roy at present.

Roy, who is likely to be renominated by the party chief said Trinamool Congress which has 185 MLAs in the 294-member assembly could send four members to the Rajya Sabha on its own strength and with possible support by the Gorkha Janmukti
Morcha`s three legislators and rebel Congress MLA from North Dinajpur district Hamidur Rahman.

Asked whether his party would leave any of the five Rajya Sabha seats to Congress, Roy said "It has not yet been decided."

He said that Congress which has 42 seats will have to depend on the Trinamool Congress to win, if the party puts up any candidate.

Besides Roy, the other four Rajya Sabha members whose tenure is expiring in April this year are Moinul Hassan, Saman Pathak and Tapan Sen (all of CPI(M)) and R C Singh (of CPI).

Asked whether the Trinamool Congress would have any tie-up with the Congress in the panchayat elections in West Bengal due next year, he said " At this stage our party is ready to face the election. It is a question of policy decision of the party and not of any individual."

PTI

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