The Trinamool Congress will not attend any meeting convened by the Centre till the Union Ministry of Home Affairs stops sending advisories to the state under Article 355 of the Constitution, the party told the Lok Sabha on Friday. Article 355 entrusts the Centre with protecting states against external aggression and internal disturbance.
Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy said the Centre sent advisories to the Mamata Banerjee government twice last week. “My party boycotted the meeting called by Centre on ‘one nation, one election’,” said Roy. “As long as the home ministry does not stop sending notices, we will not attend meetings called by the Centre.”
On June 15, the Ministry of Home Affairs had asked the West Bengal government to submit reports on political violence in the state, which has reportedly claimed 160 lives in the last four years, and a doctors’ strike. At least three people died in violence that broke out in North 24 Parganas district earlier this month.
Mamata Banerjee had refused to attend a meeting of political parties’ presidents with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 19. The leaders of parties with an MP in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha were called to discuss several matters, including the idea of simultaneous national and state elections.
In a letter to the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, Banerjee had said the subject required consultations with experts. “Instead of doing the matter hurriedly, I would request you to kindly circulate a white paper on the subject to all political parties inviting their views by providing adequate time,” she had said. “If you only do so, we will be able to give concrete suggestions on this important subject.” The Trinamool Congress chief had also skipped the NITI Aayog meeting on June 15.