The Trinamool Congress will not participate in any meeting called by the Congress party ahead of the winter session of parliament starting Monday, sources have told NDTV. The Goa unit of the party wants them to stay away from any direct meeting as they are fighting both the Congress and the BJP in the state, they said.
Trinamool Congress leaders who did want to be named said there would be opposition unity on the floor of the house but attendance at morning meetings and being seen together will be difficult.
Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge has called for a meeting of all opposition parties in his chambers on Monday morning. He has cited the success of unity amongst all parties in the monsoon session of the parliament as the reason and is expected to build consensus ahead of the winter session. Responding to charges by Congress leaders that the Trinamool is helping the BJP by weakening their party, they say that they can't be accused of playing into the hands of the BJP as everyone has seen how West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee fought the BJP in the state.
Trinamool staying away from the meeting may trigger other parties like the Aam Aadmi Party and Samajwadi Party, among others who are not part of the UPA to stay away from the meeting. In the last session, most opposition parties barring the Bahujan Samaj Party were seen united, cutting across differences to stall parliament to demand a discussion on the Pegasus snooping issue, among others.
This move comes as a blow to the Congress which has been calling for opposition unity even amid flashpoints in Goa and Meghalaya where the Trinamool Congress have managed to sign up Congress leaders, effectively reducing the Congress's presence in the two states.
At least 12 of the 17 Congress MLAs in Meghalaya have joined Ms Banerjee's party. In Assam, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Haryana too, the Trinamool Congress made inroads at the cost of the Congress.