Coronavirus: TMC asks its MPs to withdraw from Parliament

New Delhi, Mar 22 (PTI) The TMC on Sunday announced that it has given instructions to all its MPs to withdraw from Parliament and return to their constituencies in view of the coronavirus scare.

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. PTI ASG VIT IJT