NEW DELHI: Defending party chief Mamata Banerjee’s statement that there is “no UPA”, TMC MP Derek O’Brien on Thursday said there has been no United Progressive Alliance for the last 10 years.
Banerjee met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Wednesday and called for fighting the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unitedly, while taking a veiled swipe at the Congress leadership.
Asked if she wanted Pawar to be the chairperson of the Congress-led UPA, the West Bengal chief minister said, “There is no UPA now.”
“It is totally factual, we are not here to defend that. She (Banerjee) made a statement…. If you look at the history of the UPA, 13 May, 2004 were the election results. 16th or 17th of May the United Progressive Alliance was formed for governance. On 22nd May, Dr Manmohan Singh was sworn in as prime minister. There was a clear purpose to set up the UPA post elections and that was for better governance. This continued till 2014.
“In fact, not only in the last one year, for the last 10 years there has been no UPA. The governance has been done by some other political party. That is the meaning of what was said yesterday,” O’Brien told a press conference here.
He said the dynamics have changed over the years as far as the country’s political environment is concerned.
“The Congress had nearly 150 MPs back then, now they have 50. The Left Front had 62 seats back then and now, they have six. The RJD had 25 seats, now they have zero — the dynamics have changed. The AITC (All India Trinamool Congress) has only one focus, which is to uproot the BJP from the states and the Centre,” O’Brien said.
He hit out at the government over the suspension of 12 opposition MPs from the Rajya Sabha and over restrictions on the media.
“The government has stopped journalists, photographers, videographers from entering Parliament due to COVID-19. This is a way to not let the nation know what is happening inside Parliament. The BJP does not want Parliament to function. The government is answerable to Parliament and Parliament is answerable to people. If they shut out Parliament, then they are not answerable to the public anymore,” O’Brien said.
He further said the 12 MPs were suspended because they were protesting in a previous session since the government had completely ignored any discussion on the new farm laws or on the Pegasus spyware snooping row, saying it was a matter of internal security.
“This decision in itself is unprecedented. Sansad TV is the only outlet from Parliament. The government is now censoring Sansad TV as well. The cameras of Sansad TV just focus on the presiding officer, the speaker, the deputy chairperson and the BJP MPs — all mid-shot and long-shots are censored. The BJP is making Parliament a secret chamber for the BJP, of the BJP, by the BJP,” O’Brien said.
Source: Press Trust of India