Enemy's enemies wink and nudge

New Delhi, Dec. 5: When young CPM MPs effusively backed Trinamul's Saugata Roy today as he urged Congress members from Kerala to vote against FDI in retail, it was not a singular incident in the Lok Sabha.

"Well said… well said," CPM's M.B. Rajesh and P.K. Biju were heard saying when Saugata argued that Congress MPs from Kerala should oppose the decision because their chief minister was against it. The Trinamul MP was appealing for support after the conclusion of the FDI debate.

Ever since the Trinamul Congress has quit the UPA government, the acrimony between the arch political rivals that used to rock Parliament has become history, replaced by a cautious bonhomie.

Not only have Trinamul and the Left sought to blur their battle lines in Parliament, they also appear to have moved closer to the BJP in their attempt to attack the government.

Today when the Lok Sabha voted on FDI in retail, Trinamul backed the motion sponsored by the BJP and the CPM under Rule 184 to demand withdrawal of the government decision. The three parties voted together against the government on the motion.

The Left and the BJP reciprocated the gesture by supporting the Fema (Foreign Exchange Management Act) amendment moved by Saugata.

Members of the Lok Sabha voted twice today, once on the BJP-CPM-sponsored motion under Rule 184 and the second time on Saugata's Fema amendment.

Trinamul members, known for trying to shout down opponents, have now shifted their sights on the Congress, particularly its MPs from Bengal. Adhir Chowdhury and Deepa Das Munshi, recently inducted into the Manmohan Singh ministry, are their chosen targets.

Today as well as yesterday, Trinamul members locked horns with the two junior ministers. Kalyan Banerjee and some others were seen shouting in an unsavoury manner at the two when they tried to intervene when Saugata was speaking. The Speaker and other members had to step in to cool tempers.

By contrast, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta was seen shaking hands with Saugata yesterday, congratulating him for his speech during the FDI debate.

When Dasgupta spoke, Trinamul members sat quietly and were at times seen looking angrily at Congress MPs trying to interrupt the CPI leader. The Congress members tried to provoke Dasgupta by pointing out that communist China allows FDI in retail.

"China is not a model for me," Dasgupta snapped, amid smiles from Trinamul members but not a word.

Trinamul members again sat quietly through CPM MP Basudeb Acharia's speech.

In the past, there was hardly ever an occasion when Trinamul members did not obstruct any Left MP from speaking.

"Trinamul, Left and BJP have joined hands to defeat the UPA government. They are actually trying to help the BJP come to power led by Narendra Modi," Adhir, the junior minister for railways, alleged.

A Trinamul MP bristled at the suggestion. "Trinamul has been consistently opposing FDI in retail. We quit the government on this issue. The BJP and the Left are supporting our stand. Where is the question of joining hands with the BJP and the Left? We can never join hands," the MP said.

Significantly, the Left and Trinamul have come together with the BJP on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition.

The Left unequivocally holds the BJP responsible for the desecration of the mosque. Since December 6, 1992, the Left parties have held the BJP a bigger enemy than the Congress.