May reconsider pullout decision if Govt rolls back decisions

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee’s decision to pull out of the UPA-II has come with a rider.

In an announcement late on Tuesday, she said her party might reconsider its decision to withdraw support; if the Government slashes diesel price by around Rs 3-4 per litre, scrap the decision to allow FDI in retail and raise the cap on supply of subsidised LPG cylinders from six to 24 a year.

“We might reconsider our decision to withdraw support if there is a roll back in diesel price hike and FDI in retail. The cap on subsidised LPGs must go,” she told reporters late last night.

On Tuesday night, Banerjee had announced her party’s “unanimous decision” to withdraw support (to UPA) and pull out its Ministers in protest against raising diesel prices, reducing cap on subsidised LPG cylinders and FDI in retail. Trinamool ministers are expected to submit their resignations on Friday.

Pullout

Remaining adamant on her stand to withdraw support from the UPA-II, which described as “pro-people”, Banerjee made it a point to mention that no attempts had been made by the Prime Minister to contact her.

Earlier in the day, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had claimed in Delhi that attempts by the Prime Minister to contact TMC had bore no fruit.

“I will stick to my position, come what may...the (TMC) Ministers will tender their resignations,” she told reporters at Writers’ Buildings here on Wednesday.

Charging the Congress of distorting facts, Banerjee maintained that decisions at the UPA-II were taken unilaterally without consulting allies.

“The Centre’s claim that the Prime Minister tried to contact me is incorrect. The Centre was never in touch with me. I request Congress leaders not to distort facts,” she said adding: “I want to say this to them, you cannot control us. We are transparent. People know our credentials.”

She, however, made it clear that she was not opposed to FDI in aviation as “it has nothing to do with the common people”.

Congress abstains

Meanwhile, following a souring of relations, alliance partner Congress today refrained from attending the West Bengal Government’s Cabinet meeting.

The Congress has two Cabinet and two Ministers of State in the Bengal Government.

Senior Congress leaders said that the party was awaiting directions from the ‘high command’ on their future course of action. It is still not known whether Congress will ask its Ministers to resign from the Bengal Cabinet.

abhishek.l@thehindu.co.in

ayan.pramanik@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 19, 2012)
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