Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said her party took the decision to pull out of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) after its patience with the Congress-led coalition government ran out.
TMC, the second largest party in the ruling coalition after the Congress party, had given the government a 72-hour ultimatum to roll back its recent controversial decisions to hike diesel prices and allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail. The ultimatum ended this evening.
“I heard Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram speaking to the media, where he dismissed any possibility of a rollback. I would also like to tell you they are now getting ready with the Pension Bill. We have showed a lot of patience. But enough is enough. I have personally informed Soniaji about the decision,” a visibly angry Banerjee told reporters in Kolkata after a three-hour meeting of her party.
In the meeting, all Union ministers from TMC handed over their resignation letters from the Central government to Banerjee. However, she has announced that the ministers would give their resignation letters to the prime minister on Friday, meaning there are still two days for negotiations between the Congress and TMC.
Party sources say TMC leader and Railway Minister Mukul Roy and Sudip Bandopadhyay had been negotiating with senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel. But the Congress stayed firm on its stand that the decisions would not be rolled back, leaving TMC with no option but to pull out the plug on UPA.
Some TMC Parliamentarians, however, raised concern over the move, saying losing the Railways Ministry could put the numerous railway projects proposed for West Bengal in limbo. But Railway Minister, Roy, too favoured the pull-out.
In the press conference, Banerjee lashed out at the UPA government. “I know the Congress game very well. All these so-called ‘reforms’, which is nothing but selling the country, is endangering common people's future. It is a ploy to suppress the Coalgate (the coal allocation scam). We will now hit the streets to oppose the anti-people decisions”
Taking a dig at the Congress’ dealings with regional parties, she said: “If they have problems with Mamata, they go to Mayawati. If there are issues with Mayawati they will go to Mulayam (Singh Yadav), then Lalu (Prasad Yadav). If DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) is angry they will go to AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam).”
The Congress is exposed now. Other parties can compromise, but TMC cannot.”
Possibly reminding the Congress of the flip side,. Banerjee added: “If there is mid-term poll, the congress is responsible for that. We are ready to fight alone.”
While, Banerjee was leaving the town hall (the meeting venue), she was seen showing the victory sign to media persons. That party leaders are also preparing for new political journey was evident. Roy told reporters: “Now, at least you won’t be able to accuse me of being a Union minister but spending most of my time in Kolkata.”