Mamata refuses to budge,breathes fire at Congress

Rejects PC claim that Centre reached out to Trinamool,says ‘total misinformation’

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published:September 20, 2012 2:10 am

Rejects PC claim that Centre reached out to Trinamool,says ‘total misinformation’

Going against expectations that the ruling Congress and the Trinamool Congress could hold talks to resolve the crisis triggered by the latter quitting the UPA,TMC chief Mamata Banerjee Wednesday stepped up her attack against the Congress,accusing it of feeding the media with “distorted facts” and launching a disinformation campaign.

In scathing remarks that pushed the two sides further apart,Banerjee said that the Centre had not kept her or her party informed about its reform measures announced last week as Finance Minister P Chidambaram was quoted as saying Wednesday.

Banerjee’s comments came within an hour of TV quoting Chidambaram as saying that a message had been sent to Trinamool and that UPA managers were in touch with TMC leaders over the reform announcements.

“No communication has come from the Centre. They are misinforming,disinforming and confusing the people,” Banerjee told a press conference at Writers’ Buildings. She then asked TMC general secretary and Railway Minister Mukul Roy to tell people if he had received any communication. “On these issues,I have received no response from the Centre,” Roy said.

“I came to know from news channels that some messages were sent to us through Mukul. This is total misinformation,disinformation and confusion. They are distorting the fact. I would request them not to do so,” Banerjee said. She also asked why Congress leaders had not spoken to the media before taking a final call on raising diesel prices and allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.

“Why are they speaking to the press now? Now they are coming up with concocted and distorted information. They should remember that I don’t succumb to dhamki (threats) and hoomki (intimidation). They may control some news channels but not us,” Banerjee said. The TMC would not budge from its stance on “anti-people issues” such as raising fuel prices and allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.

“When Pranab Mukherjee was finance minister,there was a commitment in Parliament that decision on FDI in retail would not be taken without a political consensus,” Banerjee said,referring to the aborted move last year to allow FDI in multi-brand retail.

“Even a Congress minister in the union cabinet,Jyotiraditya Scindia,spoke against FDI. A coordination committee was set up to discuss all the important decisions. But where is ‘ordination’ in the coordination committee? I cannot understand what prompted the Centre to take a final decision on FDI,” Banerjee said.

Her party’s stand on the issue had been communicated to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi five days earlier,Banerjee said,adding that her party enjoyed high credibility among people because of its “transparency”.

The Trinamool chief also took a dig at the Congress for “marketing an idea of reducing state tax on diesel”. “It is being said that some Congress-ruled states are going to offer LPG cylinders at subsidized rate. I can give 100 percent subsidy,but the Centre has to give 50 percent of the total tax it collects from my state. We get 2-3 percent of total tax collection from West Bengal. Our financial condition is not like other states. There is a Rs 2.5 lakh crore debt burden on us,” she said.

The government’s decision to limit the number of subsidized LPG cylinders to six per year per subscriber was wrong and the TMC wants this to be raised to 24 cylinders,Banerjee said. “If we are to believe that such an idea is true then we also have to believe that those managing with six cylinders are either eating nothing or practicing dieting,” Banerjee said.

She also questioned the Centre’s explanation that states had the option of not allowing FDI in multi-brand retail. “What option they are talking about? There cannot be any discrimination because there is no provision of it in the Constitution,” she said.

TMC chief turns to Facebook to get around ‘planted news’

Accusing a section of the media of “spreading misinformation”,Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has decided to reach out to the people “directly” through her Facebook account.

“Again a section of… channels is spreading misinformation and disinformation at the behest of certain vested interests. Always I have noticed that whenever a strong stand is taken for the cause of the common people,such section tries to malign and create confusion. It is better not to trust such rumours,gossip and planted news,” she posted on her Facebook page.

“If I have something new to say,I will let you know directly. I will reiterate that we have taken a decision which is ‘of the people,for the people and by the people’ and also pro-people. We stand by it,” added the West Bengal Chief Minister.

From 2 pm to 7 pm,Banerjee posted four statements on Facebook.

Soon after Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram claimed that the UPA government had tried to contact Banerjee several times in the last few days,she posted: “I totally disagree with the statement of Union Finance Minister. It is concocted. Please watch me further on this page.”

“We respect the common people. We vouch by our credentials and our total commitment is to the cause of the common people. Our life is borne out of struggle to protect the interests of the common people — maa,mati,manush. We know what we are doing and how the interests of common men should be protected. Let us fight the battle together for the cause of the common people. I appeal to all my brothers and sisters to be bold and remain united to protect the country from disaster,” she posted.

And in the evening,she posted her greetings on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Taking her cue,her party leaders were also active on social networking sites today. “Before going ahead with anti-people policies,PM should seek fresh mandate,whether the nation is in favour of so-called reforms or not,” tweeted Rajya Sabha member Kunal Ghosh.

“West Bengal CM slammed UPA,she said even for a small family bare minimum requirement is more than six LPG cylinders,” was the official tweet from the TMC.

Tweeting on yesterday’s party meeting,Abhishek Banerjee,TMC Yuva president,said: “Attended one of the most crucial party policy meets till date… Hats off to Didi… Principles come first… Proud to be a part of Trinamool.”

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