Kolkata: Slamming the central government over price rise, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said her party would give a befitting reply to the NDA government for the way West Bengal was “deprived” and “humiliated” in the Railway Budget.
“So much of deprivation and humiliation... Trinamool will give a befitting reply,” the chief minister told reporters in Burdwan. Lok Sabha members of the Trinamool Congress and the BJP on Tuesday clashed over the Railway Budget, leading to repeated adjournments in the house.
Following the adjournment, all Trinamool members trooped out of the house, alleging physical and verbal attacks by the Bharatiya Janata Party members.
Meanwhile, in Bengal, the ruling party launched state-wide rallies on Tuesday evening to protest the budget as well as the alleged misbehaviour by BJP MPs.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan yesterday appealed to all parties to ensure their members behave in the house.
Asked about the speaker’s comment, Banerjee said: “I will not comment on the speaker’s remark. But this is our democratic right. Bengal has been neglected. We want that those who are elected from Bengal... speak up for the common man whenever they are deprived.” Banerjee twice held the post of railway minister, once during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance government and later during the UPA rule under Manmohan Singh.
“Bengal has been neglected in the Railway Budget. When I was railway minister, I gave trains to all states. If we are denied our rights, we must snatch it,” she said at a function in the district.
A visibly angry Banerjee also criticised the Centre for hikes in prices of essential commodities, fuel and rail fares.
“The Centre is hiking rail fare, prices of fuel and essential commodities. Kitchens are on fire because of increase in LPG price. How will people make their ends meet? Price rise is because of the Centre, not the state government,” she said.
Stating that her party only works for the people and “not for personal gain”, Banerjee emphasised that despite the fund crunch, her government will not seek “alms” from the Centre.
“We are receiving several investment proposals. We will not have to beg for alms. I believe in working hard for the people and not in possessing crores of money... you can’t buy people forever with money,” she said.
In the Lok Sabha, as soon as the question hour began yesterday morning, angry Trinamool Congress members shouted slogans and disrupted the proceedings of the house, protesting the Railway Budget and also against the alleged misbehaviour of some BJP MPs in the house on Tuesday.
The house was adjourned for a brief period as the MPs protesting against the railway budget went near the speaker’s podium and shouted slogans.
Carrying placards, the Trinamool members led by Kalyan Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee shouted slogans demanding “justice” for West Bengal in the Railway Budget and condemning the alleged attack on a woman party MP on Tuesday.
The protesting members also raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP. The lower house saw an ugly spat between Trinamool and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members during protests over the Railway Budget.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan objected to display of placards inside the house and warned the protesting members. Some Kerala MPs were also seen protesting the alleged discrimination against their state in the rail budget.
As the ruckus continued, Trinamool leader Kalyan Banerjee was seen making some objectionable remarks against the speaker, which led to the entire ruling coalition standing up and protesting. Soon the house was adjourned till noon. When the house assembled again, Banerjee apologised to the speaker, after which the Lok Sabha resumed a discussion on price rise.
Sumitra Mahajan pulled up the MPs for their misbehaviour.
“The undignified conduct of some members since yesterday is extremely unfortunate. We all have been hurt by disruptions in the house during the last few days,” she said, deprecating the use of “unbecoming” language, raising slogans and displaying placards in the house. The lower house then took up a debate on price rise. In the Rajya Sabha, the question hour was disrupted by protests over the Railway Budget.
As soon as the house assembled for the day, Trinamool Congress members led by Derek O’Brien started protests over the Railway Budget. Congress members alleged that the budget was leaked even before it was presented and displayed a newspaper clipping. Members of other parties were also seen on their feet.
Amid the din, the upper house was first adjourned briefly and then till noon.
When the house reassembled for the zero hour, Communist Party of India-Marxist MP P Rajeev said over 1.5 lakh files of historical importance in the home ministry were destroyed by the new government, and slammed the NDA regime for trying to change the nation’s history.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad denied the allegation, but opposition continued to protest, demanding a clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.