Prime Minister Modi calls a meeting of parliamentary floor leaders; TMC says it will not attend

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi It has convened a meeting of all parties of parliamentary leaders on April 8 to discuss the situation arising from the spread.

Nevertheless, Mamata Banerjee The Trinamool Congress has informed the government that its leaders will not attend the meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to take place via video conference, at a time when social distancing is the primary protocol for dealing with Covaid-19 and the 21-day nationwide blockade that is underway restricts travel.

TMC leaders Sudip Bandopadhyay (Lok Sabha) and Derek O'Brien (Rajya Sabha) briefed parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi on the party's decision to boycott the meeting within 15 minutes of receiving a phone call of the minister.

The party claimed there was no point in holding the meeting now, as the whole issue was ignored when TMC members highlighted it during the Budget session in March inside and outside the House.

“In fact TMC was the first party to ask Prime Minister Modi to close Parliament as social distancing was most important. Nevertheless, the government did not pay heed to our request. We also boycotted the last two days of the House on this ground, asked the government to hold an all-party meeting while the House was running and all members were present, but it was ignored,” said a TMC source.

Therefore, the party decided to boycott the meeting, the source said.

According to another TMC source, only after meeting with actors, sports stars, etc. did the Prime Minister think that it was necessary to speak to people's representatives.

Modi's first meeting with other political parties, including the opposition, since the coronavirus outbreak comes days after he held a round of talks with all the country's chief ministers to combat the spread of the virus.

A letter from parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said party leaders who have more than five members in parliament would be invited to participate in the meeting.

Taking into account the rules of social distancing and travel restrictions, the coveted meeting will be held through a video conference.

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