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Covid scare: TMC, NCP, Sena ask MPs not to attend Parliament

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: March 23, 2020 02:37 IST
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The Trinamool Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Shiv Sena on Sunday announced that they have given instructions to all their MPs to withdraw from Parliament and return to their constituencies in view of the coronavirus scare.

IMAGE: Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra sanitises her hands at Parliament, during the ongoing Budget Session, in New Delhi. Photograph: Arun Sharma/PTI Photo

TMC Rajya Sabha MP and leader of the party in the Upper House Derek O'Brien and Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Lok Sabha MP and leader of the party in the Lower House, have written to presiding officers of both Houses, urging then to wind up proceedings on Monday (March 23).

The TMC has 22 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 13 in the Rajya Sabha.


It said the TMC has been urging the government to defer Parliament for the past 10 days but no action has been taken so far.

'The prime minister himself has spoken about the urgent need for social distancing and the need to not assemble in large groups and that those above the age of 65 should take abundant care.

'Around 44 per cent MPs in Rajya Sabha and 22 per cent MPs in Lok Sabha are 65 years of age and above. It is not only about MPs, but the thousands who enter the Parliament complex every day. This conflicting messaging is downright dangerous,' the letter said.

It also said that of the approximately 110 hours of discussions held in both Houses, a mere three per cent of the time was utilised to discuss issues related to the corona pandemic.

'They are saying the government wants to keep Parliament running so that MPs give the nation confidence and lead by example This is highly irresponsible. This is not the example we should be setting.

'The All India Trinamool Congress has advised all of its Parliamentarians to go back to their respective constituencies. As required, in a couple of cases our MPs are following self-isolation protocols,' the letter said.

It also said while the party understood that it was important to pass the Finance Bill before the start of the fiscal year on April 1, 2020, one could not risk this health emergency any further.

'Rajya Sabha need not pass the Finance Bill or for that matter the Demands for Grants. These may be tabled in Rajya Sabha and can be returned to Lok Sabha without discussion.

'There are similar precedents in the recent past, and considering the extraordinary situation we are facing, such precedents may be followed,' the letter stated.

'The Finance Bill should be passed and government must defer Parliament on Monday itself. Enough is enough. It is high time this government forsakes any further grandstanding and work together for the welfare of our country,' it said.

In Mumbai, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut announced that his party MPs will not attend the ongoing budget session of Parliament from Monday in view of coronavirus outbreak.

Raut, who is party's chief whip in Parliament, made the announcement from his Twitter handle @rautsanjay61 saying, 'Keeping the Covid-19 situation in mind, all ShivSena MPs won't be attending Parliament from today. The decision has been taken by our Party Chief and honourable CM Uddhav Thackeray for helping the government to fight this Pandemic. @CMOMaharashtra @narendramodi.'

The NCP also asked its MPs to not go back to Delhi and assist government agencies at their local areas in helping citizens to fight coronavirus.

'Request all MPs of NCP - LS & RS not go back to Delhi, please stay where you are and assist Govt agencies help citizens to fight the #Coronavirus pandemic,' NCP President Sharad Pawar tweeted.

The NCP is a partner in the Mahavikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.