Will remain with UPA unless humiliated: Mamata

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 00:37

New Delhi: Notwithstanding her pin-pricks to
the government over various issues, Trinamool Congress chief
Mamata Banerjee on Monday said she was committed to the UPA and
would remain with it unless it is humiliated or "they throw us
out".

She, however, made it clear that if her party is
humiliated, she would have to take a "decision", apparently
referring to the continuance of support to the UPA government.

"There are some issues... I am not angry. I can`t
disclose the entire story to the press. I am with a particular
alliance. I can`t comment against that. There is decorum in
democratic system," Mamata told a private news channel.

Pointing out that every political party has some
political commitment to the people, the West Bengal Chief
Minister said "I am only committed to keep my commitment
also."

Asked whether she would withdraw support to the
government, she said "I am committed to UPA-II because we had
contested the election together. I want to keep my manifesto
promise. Unless, until they throw us out, we would continue
with respect, whatever they may give to us."

At the same time, she added, "if there is humiliation,
you have to take a decision. Until there is humiliation, we
will abide by our commitment."

Her statement assumes significance as she has been
repeatedly giving headaches to the government by opposing
various measures like NCTC, FDI in retail, fuel price and
railway fare hike.
Answering a variety of questions including on removal of
Dinesh Trivedi, Mamata, at one point, said the "Prime
Minister cannot decide on the Railway Minister because it is a
coalition government. I can`t interfere in Congress business,
Congress can`t interfere in our party business."

Underlining that it was her party`s prerogative to choose
who would be Railway Minister, she said her party had only one
cabinet minister given to it whereas there are parties with 10
members having two to three cabinet berths.

"That is they gave us the Railway and we did not ask for
Finance, Home or Defence," said the chief of Trinamool
Congress which has 19 members in the Lok Sabha.
She indicated she should have been consulted on the
railway budget which proposed fare hike.

"He (Trivedi) is my own minister. At least on policy
decision... I am not asking the budget proposal to be given to
me. Can you think that without discussing the policy decision
with Soniaji, Congress can place the budget? In every party,
there is a parampara (tradition)," Trinamool Congress chief
said.

She claimed her party "did not interfere" on resignation
of Trivedi but said "if somebody is deputed from the party,
they have to inform the party about the policy decision. At
least, you should inform about the price hike."

She argued the union cabinet never passed the railway
budget and even in case of general budget, the cabinet
endorsed it just "half an hour" before presentation in
Parliament.
"Only the PM and Finance Minister know the budget," she
said.
Responding to the charge that Railway Ministry was being
used by her as her personal office, Mamata shot back "why
does Soniaji decide who will be the PM of the country? Because
she is the leader of the party.

Making evident her displeasure over the functioning of
the Railway Ministry under Trivedi, Mamata said, "All my
people have been thrown out from the railway. We never
questioned that."

Opposing hike in railway fares in lower classes, the
former Railway Minister said, "The poor people every day
travel by train. More than 60 per cent of them are daily
passengers. Two paise or five paise increase amounts to Rs 200
in a month."

On whether there would be a rollback of fare hike, she
declined to comment, saying it was the business of Parliament
to take decision in this regard. "Let the new minister take
oath. I did not discuss anything with the PM as this is not
his matter."

Mamata rejected the contention that it was a reform
railway budget. "Those who praise the budget only see their
angle and don`t see the public angle. Unfortunate part in this
country today is if you say something for the poor, one
section of media says it`s bad."

She argued that increasing the fare was not the only way
out. "I believe in going for innovations. You should go for
commercialisation, new business options. I had given all
options."

With regard to her demand for special package for West
Bengal, the Chief Minister said her government was carrying
the baggage of the Left front legacy with Rs 2,03,000 crore
debt.

"Before elections, PM assured us of special package... I
am not begging for money from the Centre. We need to protect
our right," she said, adding the state`s total income was Rs
21,000 crore while the central government was taking Rs 22,000
crore from the state.

"Only Delhi can`t run the country. I support the national
party and also the federal front. You need so many flowers to
make a garland. One flower can`t make a garland. All parties
have their own importance in their states," she said.

PTI

First Published: Monday, March 19, 2012 - 21:06
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