Outcome of the Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Uttarakhand will decide which political parties align with whom in the 2019 General Elections, parliamentary party leader of the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC), Derek O'Brien, told HuffPost India.
"The preview to 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be seen on 11 March, 2017," he told this reporter in an exclusive interview. Results for the assembly elections in the five states will be declared on 11 March.
Outcome of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand will decide which political parties align with whom in the 2019 general elections,
'RSS behind communal violence in West Bengal'
O'Brien also said that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) — the right-wing Hindu cultural organisation that exerts considerable influence on the BJP — was behind the recent communal disturbances in West Bengal. Elaborating on the role of the RSS, he said "there is a pattern" to how these communal disturbances were triggered. There have been multiple incidents of communal violence in West Bengal.
Last December, communal violence rocked Dhulagarh in Howrah district. O'Brien said "minor law and order situations" were given communal colour, triggering violence.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) behind the recent communal disturbances in West Bengal.
'BJP arrested our MPs for our stand against demonetisation.'
The TMC has been has leading the charge against the Narendra Modi-led NDA government over demonetisation. It was a key mover in mobilising all opposition parties, including the Left and Congress, to oppose demonetisation. Negating reports that the opposition was no longer on same page over demonetisation, O'Brien said, "Most political parties are busy with elections. You will see 14-15 political parties coming together again in the second half of the Parliament session."
In the last-concluded session of the Parliament, practically no business could be conducted with the opposition coming together to protest the demonetisation move. So what can be expected in the second half of the Budget Session? "The weather of the Parliament will depend on 11 March" when results of the assembly elections are declared, he said.
The TMC's role in uniting the opposition over demonetisation has led to the arrest of its two senior MPs, O'Brian said. Actor-turned-politician Tapas Pal and TMC leader of the house in the Lok Sabha, Sudeep Bandyopadhyay, were arrested in quick succession by the CBI for their alleged involvement in the Rose Valley chit fund scam.
"The timing of the arrests gives it away," O'Brien said. They were arrested when Mamata Banerjee, Bengal Chief Minister and TMC founder, was rallying the opposition against the Government, he said. "They can arrest all 46 TMC MPs, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and 210 MLAs and fill up the jails," O'Brien said. Being vindictive to counter dissent isn't good, he added.
"demonetisation has already hit everyone hard; you cannot have a double whammy."
GST roll out uncertain now
O'Brien also ruled out the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) — the single biggest tax reforms of India — on 1 July, as declared by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
"I would say that GST would go through but I am not certain whether it will go through as declared. I don't know how he (the Finance Minister) arrived at the date," he said, adding that "demonetisation has already hit everyone hard; you cannot have a double whammy."
The TMC had previously supported the GST. West Bengal Finance Minister Arun Mitra is the chairman of empowered committee of state finance ministers that is working out the details of proposed GST roll-out.