Bengal Congress ministers resign, slam TMC

Last Updated: Sat, Sep 22, 2012 19:45 hrs

The Congress in West Bengal on Saturday accused the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of helping "communal" and "opportunistic" opponents, as six of the party's ministers resigned from the state government.

The Congress ministers in the West Bengal government tendered their resignations on Saturday evening after meeting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at state secretariat Writers´ Building in Kolkata.

The falling out between the two parties was triggered by the wave of economic reforms announced by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre, that resulted in the pullout of the TMC from the ruling coalition.

Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC) ran an alliance government in West Bengal though chief minister Mamata´s party has majority to run the government without the former's support.

"In spite of repeated help and sacrifices by the Congress, the Trinamool has always tried to upstage and humiliate us.

"By withdrawing support at this crucial juncture, they have only strengthened the hands of communal forces at the centre and the opportunistic Communists in the state," said senior Congress leader and former minister Manas Bhunia.

"The Trinamool has always strived to strengthen its own base at our cost. They always tried to liquidate us. We have long endured and watched this silently but cannot take it anymore," he said.

In Bengal, after tendering their resignations, the ministers headed for the Raj Bhavan to meet West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan to withdraw support to the state government.

"Our ministers will submit their resignation to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at 5 PM," West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBCC) president Pradip Bhattacharya had told media earlier in the day.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was reduced to a minority formally on Friday after six TMC ministers in the government tendered their resignations, capping days of high voltage politics after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced his big ticket economic reforms.

Mamata on Tuesday had announced to withdraw support to the UPA over the issue of FDI in multi brand retail, hike in diesel price and cap on subsidy in LPG cylinders.

TMC with 19 MPs was UPA´s second biggest constituent and the biggest ally of the Congress party which spearheads the government.

The government a week ago finally opened doors to more foreign investment in India's retail, aviation and broadcast sectors, and divestment in four state-run industries, in long-awaited bold steps that are seen critical to revive growth and confidence in Asia's third largest economy.

The big ticket liberalisation measures came just a day after the government raised the price of diesel by Rs 5 per litre and restricted the number of subsidised LPG cylinders sold to households at six per year.

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