CPI-M decides to skip press conference of opposition

Kolkata : Cracks appeared in the Opposition’s unity as the CPI(M) today decided to stay away from a press conference by the opposition parties convened by the Congress, citing “lack of coordination and consultation” among the participants.

“We have decided to stay away from the press conference of opposition parties convened by the Congress because there has been no proper consultation and coordination among the parties,” CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told a press conference here.

“Most of the parties were neither consulted nor informed about what will be the agenda of the meeting. Several opposition parties have reservation about the way the meeting has been convened,” Yechury said.

The Congress is striving for uniting the Opposition on the issue of Rahul Gandhi’s charges of “personal corruption” against the Prime Minister and plans are afoot for a joint press conference by its president Sonia Gandhi and other opposition leaders on December 27.

Yechury said that a few days back he had received a call from the Congress leadership inviting him to the press conference on December 27.

“But when I wanted to know what will be the agenda of the meeting, plan of action and whether all opposition parties have been called, I didn’t receive any answer,” Yechury said.

On being asked if the decision to stay away would not provide ammunition to the BJP camp, Yechury said,” When you want to take the opposition unity of 16 parties from a Parliament level to a political level then you need to hold consultation and discussion with the political leadership. A decision should be taken on the basis of proper consultation. That was not done, which is unfortunate,” the veteran leader said.

He noted that in order to take forward the unity of opposition parties, references should be taken from the efforts that the CPI(M) has taken during the 1996 United Front government and UPA-I government.

Yechury wondered why only the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee was invited to the press conference and Chief Ministers of Tripura, Bihar, and the NCP leadership were not properly consulted.

“Why are you only inviting Chief Minister of West Bengal and not calling CMs of Bihar, Tripura and other states which have non-BJP governments?” he questioned.
Yechury said that all 16 opposition parties were on the same page on demonetisation and its ill effects and have come together keeping aside their political differences.

Asked if his party’s decision to walk out of the meeting and press conference was influenced by the presence of Mamata Banerjee, Yechury said, “No. We are not going because of the lack of coordination and consultation. If the TMC was the reason, then we would have stayed away from the protests outside Parliament, where the TMC was also present”.

Yechury, however, failed to give a satisfactory reply when asked why his CPI-M was lagging behind the TMC in organising protest against demonetisation, especially after the failure of the party to organise a 12-hour shutdown on the issue on November 28.

He replied, “We have not stopped protesting, it is the media of Bengal which is not reporting.”