NEW DELHI: The fissures between Congress and Trinamool Congress over poaching may impact Opposition unity during the winter session of Parliament.
The TMC led by Mamata Banerjee is looking at a bigger role in floor coordination with other parties and attacking the Centre, something the Congress took the lead in doing during the previous Parliament session.
Indications of a possible breach in Opposition unity were visible at the Congress party's call to boycott the Constitutional Day event at Parliament House on Friday.
Congress said that 14 parties boycotted the event after Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge reached out to them Thursday. TMC took a different stand that it skipped the function because none of their MPs were in Delhi.
"This is our official stand. But why should we let Congress take the credit as it is going to town saying that it was on its call that the Opposition decided to boycott the event," said a TMC MP, adding that the party won't follow the Congress floor strategy.
Deputy Leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma said the party believes in taking everyone along. In Rajya Sabha, Congress is the largest Opposition party with 34 MPs. TMC with 13 is the second largest.
Some Opposition leaders feel differences between the two parties could play out during the session with TMC going all out to take on the Centre over issues related to farmers, inflation and others. "We have to wait and see. In the past, TMC has skipped a few joint Opposition meetings called by Congress in Parliament," said a Left party MP in Rajya Sabha.
Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam, Leader of CPI Parliamentary Party, called for a united Opposition to take on the Centre. "The winter session where the government has listed 26 bills but is silent on MSP, is crucial. Major Opposition parties like Congress and TMC should come out of narrow partisanship to put up a combined resistance. The Left would strive for purposeful unity against anti-people BJP,' he said.
During a Congress Parliamentary Party strategy meeting chaired by Sonia Gandhi on Thursday, Kharge, Sharma and Congress chief whip in Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh were asked to coordinate with Opposition parties for unity.
Sharma shares good rapport with Mamata. They worked together in Congress in the 80s when Sharma was Youth Congress president and Mamata was the general secretary.