Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee delivered some really bad news to the Congress-led UPA government,announcing her party’s withdrawal of support to the alliance.
Trinamool,the second biggest constituent of the UPA,decided to withdraw its support on the issue of petroleum price hike,FDI in retail and corruption.
Mamata said UPA announced FDI in retail decision to divert attention from Coalgate.
“We are withdrawing our support. Our ministers will go to Delhi,meet the Prime Minister and tender their resignations at 3 PM,” TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced after a meeting of party MPs,top leaders and office bearers.
However,Banerjee added a caveat saying if the Centre rolls back the decision on FDI in multi-brand retail,raise the cap on supply of subsidised LPG to 12 cylinders and reduction of diesel hike from Rs.5 to Rs. 3 or Rs.4,then the party would reconsider the decision to withdraw support.
She said the Central government was not not a one-party rule. “The government depends on the support of others. But in Bengal,we have a majority of our own and we are not not dependant on others,” she said.
Banerjee ruled out supporting the government from outside saying her decision was “not half-hearted”.
Widening the attack on Congress,she brought in issues like coal block allocation scam,blackmoney and fertiliser price rise.
“The FDI decision was taken to suppress the coalgate issue,” the West Bengal Chief Minister said. Accusing the Congress of indulging in “blackmail politics”,she said whenever it has trouble with any of its allies,it goes to the other.
“When it has problem with Mayawati,it goes to Mulayam. When it has problems with Mulayam,it goes to Nitish (Kumar of JD-U) and it is like that,” Banerjee said.
Referring to the FDI decision,she said there are 50 million people in unorganised retail sector. “Where will these people go? There will be disaster. It has not been sustainable even in the West.”
While accusing Congress of indulging in “blackmail” politics,the Trinamool chief said,”somebody has to bell the cat.”
She revealed that she had conveyed her opposition to FDI decisions directly to Congress President Sonia Gandhi but it did not work.
Banerjee also criticised Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s statement yesterday ruling out rollback on FDI.
She said after all these steps,the Congress would now allow even Pension Bill and vowed to oppose it tooth and nail in Parliament.
“If we don’t take a decision,they will even allow foreign players in pension sector. We can’t tolerate,” she said.
“We will not tolerate any anti-people decisions and we will oppose everything,” she said.
She said her party would not be responsible if the country was forced to go for a mid-term poll.
“This government can stay for three months or six months,I don’t know. They have lost the credibility. And if they cannot maintain friendship with us,then they cannot maintain friendship with anybody,” Banerjee said.
She also raked up the blackmoney issue,questioning why the government has not taken steps to bring it back.
Mamata Banerjee: blow by blow:
* At this juncture though we are not in favour of withdrawing our support earlier,we are sorry to say…
* The way this govt is taking anti people decisions…
* We have repeatedly told them to discuss,we requested them not to impose burden on people…
* We were second largest party ..but did not get respect…but we continued as we promised that we will support the govt for five years…we maintained our support…
* Congress leaders in state also insulted them…
* Price on petro products increased several times in three years…
* No social security scheme in our country….32 per cent tax on the total amount of taxes distributed among all the states…we get 2.7 per cent from all these taxes… FDI in retail market,
* Where the poor people will go,there will be disaster…
* We requested them to reconsider FDI in retail…for whom they are doing..why they are not bringing black money…
* To divert Coalgate issue,they have opened the FDI gate….
* Our minister will resign on Friday to submit their resignation…
* We are leaving UPA II….
* We waited…but not response…we would have opposed the pension bill…so
we were not allowed to stay…
* We are self sufficient.
* This is the beauty and duty of Trinamool Congress
Sense of freedom after quitting UPA: TC union minister
Senior Trinamool Congress leader and Union minister of state for tourism Sultan Ahmed tonight said that quitting the UPA government has brought a sense of freedom.
“We have got a sense of freedom after quitting the UPA government,” Ahmed said shortly after party supremo Mamata Banerjee announced withdrawal of support to the Congress-led UPA government.
Ahmed said that the Trinamool Congress would single-handedly fight corruption and anti-people policies of the government under the leadership of the party supremo.
“People of the country will realise why we decided to withdraw support to the UPA government and under what circumstances,” he said.
He said that Trinamool Congress leaders would now convince the people on what prompted the party to pull out of UPA.
Cong reaches out to Mamata,terms her a ‘valued colleague’
Earlier in the day,Congress reached out to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee describing her as a “valued colleague” who had grown up in the “nursery of Congress” and would not do anything to create instability in the country.
“She is a valued colleague. She made a valuable contribution to the alliance and she has a long history of relationships and friendships with Congress party because she grew up in the nursery of Congress and she has been one of the more admired leaders in Congress party before she found her own party,Trinamool Congress,” Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid said.
He was responding to queries about the course of action the Trinamool chief may take on the issues of diesel price hike and the cabinet decision to allow FDI in multi brand retail.
Asked how Congress is trying to reach out to Banerjee,he said “I can’t put my finger on and say that this is the particular method we would have used or we are using and who in particular is attempting or trying to persuade her”.
The Law minister said though he did not want to forecast anything,he believed Banerjee would take no step that would create instability.
“I am sure what she has been saying repeatedly that she does not want to contribute to any kind of instability,I am sure she actually means it and she will find a way of
expressing it,” he said.
Khurshid also defended the government’s decision to allow more FDI saying changes had to be made as per circumstances.
“Political parties all over the world transform themselves,change themselves to address the need of the circumstances around them. Why should Indian political parties not do the same,” he said.
“The economic landscape is changing,the demands on India are changing,the aspirations of our young population are changing and growing. Therefore,we must know how to address them,” he added.
Khurshid said economic reforms were essential for the economic development of the country.
“I believe and we all believe that economic reforms is intrinsic to our being able to satisfy the demands of the young India. If the ‘aam admi’ has to get what the ‘aam admi’ deserves,then we must have the wealth created in order to do that,” he said.
“It is not about the rich,it is about all of us,the poor,the middle class and the professionals who are the cutting edge of the India growth story,” he added.
The Law minister said he had no reason to feel that the government was not secure but added that communication with partners was important.
“I have no reason to believe…. on the contrary,I think we are fine but we should not be overconfident. We should continue to make sure our communication channels stay open,” he said.
Earlier in his speech at a function here,Khurshid said the Prime Minister had led from the front for the reforms to be carried out and said they needed a run of two years to show results.
Asked by a reporter as to what he made of the statement made by Gujarat Chief minister Narendra Modi that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi could contest elections from Italy,Khurshid said,”if you hold office in this country,you should
be reasonable and sensible in what you are saying.
At the start of the meeting,Singh had listed 17 issues,including FDI in retail and aviation,saying decisions in this regard needed to be taken along with hike in diesel price as the economy was in a bad shape,the sources said.
Banerjee stated that she did not want to talk about these issues at that meeting and would discuss with the Prime Minister privately,the sources said.
Subsequently,Finance Minister P Chidambaram had explained that the government needed to go ahead with reforms and cut fiscal deficit to restore confidence of investors,they said.
But she insisted she would talk to the Prime Minister separately about it.
Later,just before the meeting of cabinet last Friday when the FDI decisions were taken,Singh had called her to inform about the impending decisions as Trinamool representative and Railway Minister Mukul Roy was not going to attend,the sources said. However,she did not receive the Prime Minister’s call.