Senior Trinamool Congress leaders,including its Ministers,tonight skipped Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s dinner as the Mamata Banerjee-led party decided to organise a sit-in in the Parliament complex to demand a special financial package for West Bengal.
The dinner hosted by the Prime Minister was attended by party MP Ratna De Nag only,even though Trinamool has seven Ministers and its total strength in Parliament is 25,including 19 in Lok Sabha.
The crucial UPA ally,which has put the Centre on the backfoot on various issues including FDI in retail,decontrol of fertiliser prices and petrol price hike,has also tabled an amendment to the President’s address to Parliament on the NCTC issue,which could end up as an embarassment for UPA.
Party whip Kalyan Banerjee today demanded in Lok Sabha immediate withdrawal of the notification on National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).
Announcing that party MPs would stage a two-hour dharna outside Parliament on March 15 on West Bengal’s financial demands,a day before the Union Budget,Trinamool leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadyay said it was being held on the instructions of the party supremo.
“Since we came to power in West Bengal,no financial assistance has been given to us by the Centre inspite of our demands. We have been demanding a moratorium for three years on the interest but to no effect as yet,” he said.
“West Bengal government under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee is facing huge difficulties. Our main demand is that Bengal should not be put to financial uncertainty. We are not begging but the state government has to bear the brunt of an enormous debt left behind by the erstwhile government,” he said.
To questions on the party not supporting the government on several crucial issues,Bandopadhyay said “we are still in the government. But whenever the interest of the people are concerned,we are ready to raise our voice.”
On the possibility of the party joining a ‘Third Front’ being speculated after Congress’s poor show in recent assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh,Punjab and Goa,Bandyopadhyay said “no decision has been taken by the party. It is for our party chief Mamata Banerjee to take any decision in this regard.”