Emissary ‘message’ for Cong

The Congress has urged its UPA allies not to cross the lakshman rekha and stick to the principle of coalition politics,but Trinamool Congress — the Congress’s most important ally at the Centre — is sending a representative to attend the swearing-in of the SAD-BJP government in Punjab.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: March 13, 2012 4:45:08 am

The Congress has urged its UPA allies not to cross the lakshman rekha and stick to the principle of coalition politics,but Trinamool Congress — the Congress’s most important ally at the Centre — is sending a representative to attend the swearing-in of the SAD-BJP government in Punjab.

Political observers said that Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee decided to send a representative to mount pressure on the Congress to earn sops for Bengal in the general budget to be tabled this week.

Bengal Tourism Minister Rachpal Singh will attend the swearing-in of SAD’s Parkash Singh Badal as CM of Punjab in Chandigarh on March 14. “On behalf of Didi (Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee) I will wish Badal. I have been asked to go to Chandigarh on the direction of Didi,” Rachpal said.

He did not comment when asked if his Chandigarh visit was the beginning of the process of formation of a non-BJP,non-Congress political alliance at the Centre,keeping in mind the next Lok Sabha poll.

During a meeting with her party MPs last week,Mamata had instructed them to raise their voice on the floor of Parliament to ensure that the Centre comes up with a budget with special emphasis on West Bengal. Encouraged by the outcome of the just-concluded Assembly elections in five states,Trinamool intends to mount pressure on the Congress,observers feel.

“We have been paying Rs 22,000 crore every year as principal and interest on loans taken by the Left Front government. Since we came to power,no financial assistance has been given to us by the Centre in spite of our demands. To rejuvenate the state’s finance sector,we have been demanding moratorium for three years. But our demand was not heard,” a Trinamool leader said.

Asked if Trinamool’s decision to send a representative to Chandigarh was aimed at mounting pressure on the Centre,the Trinamool leader said: “This depends on how you interpret the issue. We had received an invitation letter from Badal’s party. So it is our duty to show courtesy,” the leader said.

Trinamool MP Sultan Ahmed will be attending the swearing-in of Akhilesh Yadav as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. The ceremony will be held in Lucknow on March 15. Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav called Mamata and requested her to be present. “Didi was requested to attend. But she will not be able to go because the Assembly session will be on,” a Trinamool source said.

The decision to send a representative to Akhilesh’s swearing-in has fuelled speculation of formation of a third front. Mamata refused to comment on the issue.

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