Mamata Banerjee opposes Air India disinvestment; Derek O’Brien too raises questions


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday strongly opposed the Centre’s move to disinvest its stake in Air India and TMC leader Derek O’Brien questioned the decision, saying a parliamentary panel was still examining the issue.

Hours after the government released the preliminary information memorandum on strategic disinvestment of the national carrier, Banerjee took to Twitter to express her objection over the decision.

“I’m sorry to read in the media about the government inviting expression of interest for selling Air India, the jewel of our nation. We strongly oppose this and want this order to be withdrawn immediately,” the TMC chief said.

“This government must not be allowed to sell our country,” she claimed.

O’Brien also slammed the government’s move.

“The proposed disinvestment of Air India is being examined by the panel. Stakeholders are being called. Views heard. Report still some time away. How come these moves from goverment?,” he tweeted.

O’Brien heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Transport, Tourism and Culture.

In January, during a meeting of the panel, most members had sought the withdrawal of the draft report which said that it was not appropriate time to divest stake in Air India and that the airline should be given at least five years to revive.

O’Brien, however, had remained absent from that particular meeting.

Out of the 31-member panel, 16 had given in writing their opposition to adopting the draft report. The majority of the members, in favour of selling the government’s stake in the national carrier, were from the ruling BJP.

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