Mamata raises pitch on debt relief,sends demand list to PM

Ahead of her meeting with Sonia Gandhi,Bengal CM turns on the pressure on Centre.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | Kolkata | Published: May 3, 2012 12:17 am

Ahead of her meeting with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on the presidential election,likely on Thursday,Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee turned on the pressure on the Centre for financial relief to West Bengal.

Ahead of her arrival in Delhi on Wednesday,Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress general secretary Mukul Roy submitted a memorandums to the PM,spelling out the extent of the state’s financial problems. This follows last week’s meeting Trinamool MPs had with the Finance Minister and the PM. This is the first time the party has given this demand in writing to the PM.

The memorandum seeks a three-year moratorium for Bengal,which has to part with around Rs 22,000 crore every year to service a loan burden of over Rs 2 lakh crore.

The Congress lost no time in wooing Mamata soon after she landed here. Senior leader Kamal Nath held a 30-minute meeting at her Delhi flat around 10 pm. “I’m sure when she meets PM and Soniaji,there will be convergence,” he said.

The Trinamool,which enjoys four per cent votes in the presidential electoral college,is in a position to leverage that for its demand for the financial relief for the state.

CM opposes Centre on forces’ bill

After the National Counter Terrorism Centre,Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has now taken on the Centre over the Home Ministry’s letter asking Bengal to pay Rs 423 crore for retaining Central forces as well as lowering quota of rice for BPL families. Mamata,sources said,has written back to the Centre arguing that Maoist insurgency can’t be seen as just a law and order problem since it involves issues of national security. Therefore,she reasoned,if Central forces are deployed to counter this problem,the expenses have to be entirely borne by the Centre. So,she demanded,the Centre must immediately withdraw the letter.

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