In an effort to brush aside the tension with the largest ally Trinamool Congress over petrol price hike, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni on Friday met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"She has expressed her concern over the price rise and as a member of the Union cabinet, I will convey it to the Prime Minister tomorrow," Soni told reporters after the meeting.
The hike in petrol price evoked a sharp protest from the Trinamool Congress, which alleged it was not consulted at all before such a decision was taken. Earlier last night, Trinamool Congress' general secretary Mukul Roy had registered the party's unhappiness over this decision with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Denouncing the petrol price hike as anti-people, Left Front parties have also decided to hit the streets next week to empathise with the people.
Later in the day Banerjee said, “We are against the price rise and conveyed our concern to the centre. This is what we can do as an ally. Left parties should stop this drama, there were hikes for several times, when they were ally to the central government.”
Banerjee's meeting with Ambika Soni, also holds significance as earlier this month Banerjee, unhappy with Teesta water sharing accord, snubbed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and refused to accompany him during the Bangaldesh visit at the last minute as she felt it would hurt the interests of West Bengal. Subsequently, the agreement could not be signed.
When asked if she had a discussion with the chief minister on the Teesta agreement, Soni said “She (Banerjee) has already conveyed her views to the PM and he knows it. The PM has also conveyed his views to the chief minister. Whether there is any difference (on the issue), I don't know."