The UPA Government will explain the background behind its decisions to the Trinamool Congress which has decided to withdraw support to the coalition on the issue of diesel price hike and FDI in retail.

Sources said after a meeting of the top Congress leadership at the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the Government would explain to Trinamool Congress ministers the circumstances under which these decisions were taken.

There was no indication as to what the Government would do on the demands of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee who has sought the total withdrawal of FDI in retail, the slashing of Rs 5 hike in diesel price by Rs 4 or Rs 3 and raise the cap on LPG cylinders from 6 to 12.

Asked about the Trinamool demands for roll back of the decisions, the sources merely said, “ask the petroleum minister“.

Six ministers of Trinamool Congress are slated to resign on Friday afternoon if the Government does not roll back its decisions.

The sources recalled that the Government sought to reach out to Mamata Banerjee four days ago to explain the background behind the decisions it took.

The Prime Minister tried to speak to Banerjee twice over phone but she did not return the calls. Then Railway Minister Mukul Roy was contacted, the sources said, adding Roy acknowledged that Banerjee had received the message.

However, Roy said today that nobody from the Government has spoken to him after Mamata Banerjee decided on withdrawing support last night.

Core committee meets

The top Congress leadership today met to finalise its strategy in the wake of Trinamool Congress deciding to withdraw its support to the UPA Government even as another key ally Samajwadi Party will meet here tomorrow to decide its stand.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and was closeted with him over discussions on how to tackle the threat to the Government caused by Trinamool’s decision.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Defence Minister A K Antony and Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel were also present in the discussion.

SP to meet tomorrow

Meanwhile, Mulayam Singh Yadav, leader of the 22-strong Samajwadi Party, whose support for Government assumes importance in the current context, expressed opposition to Government’s decisions but declined to reveal the Party strategy.

“Tomorrow there is a meeting of the Samajwadi Party’s Parliamentary Board. We will decide our strategy there,” he told reporters here.

The SP Chief said his Party would go ahead with its plans to hold demonstrations to oppose the price hike. “There will be opposition in Uttar Pradesh and the entire country. The demonstrations in support of people’s issue will happen,” Yadav said.

He criticised the Government saying that its policies have added to the burden of the common man.

“We want that wisdom should dawn upon the Government. What have you (the government) given to the people apart from inflation and corruption? There is so much burden on the common man, so much burden on the farmers,” Yadav added.

“This obstinate attitude will only weaken it. Due to this attitude, the Congress party will become very weak,” he said.

Yadav was asked by the reporters if he thought that the attitude of the Government was coming in the way of its smooth functioning.

Following Trinamool’s decision, the strength of UPA in the Lok Sabha has come down from 273 to 254, which is 19 short of the half-way mark of 273 in the Lok Sabha. However, with the support of outside allies SP (22), BSP (21), RJD (4) and JD-S (3), its strength goes upto 304 in a House of 545.

(This article was published on September 19, 2012)
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