‘No coordination with Centre’

Her interventions in the House are interesting to watch as she presents all details pertaining to the subject. During the debate on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019, she came to Parliament equipped with all data.

‘No coordination with Centre’

Dola Sen a firebrand Rajya Sabha MP from the Trinamul Congress (Photo:SNS)

Dola Sen is a firebrand Rajya Sabha MP from the Trinamul Congress (TMC). She heads the party’s trade union called the Indian National Trinamool Trade Union Congress (INTTUC). She was elected to the Rajya Sabha for the second term. Her interventions in the House are interesting to watch as she presents all details pertaining to the subject. During the debate on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019, she came to Parliament equipped with all data. Sen’s political debates with former BJP MP Roopa Ganguly were specially interesting.

A graduate in Mathematics from Calcutta University, Sen was a constant presence by the side of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her Singur protest for 26 days. In an interview with Chandrani Banerjee, she makes it clear that TMC’s fight is not against the BJP, but the party is committed to save the country.

Q: Elections are very near. Where does TMC figure in opposition unity ahead of elections?


A: Trinamool Congress considers that we are the people of India and the Constitution of India is the last word. In every state, state-specific regional parties are strong. In Tamil Nadu DMK is strong, In Karnataka, Congress and JDS while in Andhra Pradesh Jagan Mohan Reddy is strong. In Orissa, Biju Janata Dal has a huge base. Similarly, Bihar and West Bengal are known for Lalu, Nitish and Mamata Banerjee respectively. What I am trying to convey is that Trinamool Congress will not oppose the strong party base in a specific region. This will help them to win in the region and keep the Bharatiya Janata Party away. The ultimate aim is to strengthen the opposition and this is the best possible way. If a party is strong in a specific state supporting that party will strengthen them further and we will achieve our goal.

Q: So, how will you join hands with them when you don’t see eye to eye in the state?

A: History shows that Mamata Banerjee supported Sitaram Yechuri for the larger good. In states where Left parties have strongholds, we will not oppose that because the nation is bigger than anything else. Kerala will function with the base party that they like and support. Trinamool will support the same party. This is our strategy and philosophy. And the opposition will come out stronger this way. In Uttar Pradesh, we will convince Congress to contest from a lesser number of seats to allow Akhilesh Yadav to lead. This will help to keep the double-engine sarkar from coming to power.

Q: Protesting wrestlers have not received support from the ruling party, They are the national pride. How does TMC view the entire episode?

A: We condemn the inaction and the attitude towards the protesting wrestlers. This is unfortunate and shameful. The Prime Minister, Sports Minister and Home Minister have not used social media to express their views on the issue. There is no regret in the behaviour of Delhi Police. The wrestlers made India proud and they are our pride. They had to knock on the doors of the Supreme Court to lodge an FIR. How shameful is that? The law of the land allows anyone to file an FIR and ask for justice, Amrit Mahotsav is celebrated and people who made the nation proud are living on the roads with tears in their eyes. This is also a kind of Man ki baat that needs attention and needs to be heard.

Q: On the Adani-Hindenburg issue TMC was very vocal. It was taken up in Parliament by Mahua Moitra. Where does TMC stand now on the issue?

A: Our stand is the same and we oppose it tooth and nail. We know how the funds and reserves have been used to protect Adani. The matter needs discussion and proper investigation but this is also a deliberate move to not bring it to the table. Actually, this concerns every citizen of India and needs to be addressed.

Q: Trinamul is the party of ma maati maanush – what are the achievements towards labour reforms?

A: There are landmark decisions taken by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on labour reforms. After three months of assuming power in May 2011, she announced the mandatory revised minimum wages after 33 years under then labour minister Purnendu Basu. For 33 years, earlier governments in West Bengal paid no attention towards this. She conceptualised and announced Samajaik Mukti Prakalpo for the betterment of the unorganised sector. She created a provision to give pensions, and medical aid to the workers of the unorganized sector. For this, the entire fund is provided by the state government. Payments have been revised from Rs 157 to Rs 450 for jute workers while for tea workers Rs 67 has become Rs 300. The state government is also considering DA allowances. This matter is under process and will soon be implanted.

Q: Do you think there is some problem in the coordination between the Centre and the state?

A: There is no coordination at all. The relationship must be based on the principle of federalism, but unfortunately Centre-state relations are not on even keel. Modi hai toh mumkin hai (everything is possible with Modi around). Since he enjoys a majority with 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, we have no say nor can we raise our voice against this discrimination. He can function as per his own will. However, we are not going to be cowed down, that is the cause of the discomfiture of the Centre and the lack of coordination.