Price rise: May quit UPA, says Mamata

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said her party would not remain in the coalition if it affected another hike in prices of petro products.

Last Updated: Nov 09, 2011, 00:51 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Kolkata: Giving an ultimatum to the UPA government, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said her party would not remain in the coalition if it
effected another hike in prices of petro products.

"Trinamool Congress will not remain in the UPA government
if the Centre resorts to another increase in prices of diesel,
kerosene and LPG," Banerjee told a news channel after a
meeting with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at the
Raj Bhavan here.

Her ultimatum followed the threat to pull out of the
government on November 4 over the hike in petrol price.

She said her party would not remain in the UPA government
if it was not needed.

Asked whether she had any hint that the Congress was
trying to rope in some other allies as an alternative to her
party to ensure the survival of the government, she said,
"they (Congress) are always in the habit of doing this.

"If there is a tiff with Lalu (Prasad) they woo Nitish
(Kumar). If they have trouble with Mayawati, they woo Mulayam.
They can do what they like, but ultimately they will have to
go for elections."

Banerjee said as long as "we are in the government we
will maintain courtesy. If they think they have got another
ally and they don`t need us, let them tell us. We will come
out".

Meanwhile the Trinamool Congress which has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha, got no
assurance on rollback of the hike of Rs 1.80 when its
delegation of MPs met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi
to register their unhappiness.

After the 45-minute meeting, the MPs made it clear that
the party would continue to be part of the government as of
now despite being strongly opposed to the latest price hike.

"We expressed our sentiments to the Prime Minister and
gave him a copy of the resolution adopted at the Parliamentary
Party meeting held in Kolkata," said Union Minister and
Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandhopadhyay after the
45-minute meeting with Singh.

Citing media reports which suggested that there could be
hike in prices of LPG, diesel and kerosene this month, the
delegation told the Prime Minister that Trinamool was opposed
to any such move but Singh said he was not aware of any such
thing.

"We categorically said if such a decision is taken again,
we have to think again whether what will be our stand and we
will not take this very easily... We have succeeded in
convincing the people that Trinamool Congress will not digest
easily whenever decision of price rise is taken,"
Bandhopadhyay told reporters.

Asked whether Singh gave any assurance on rollback of the
latest petrol price hike, he replied in the negative.

During the meeting with Singh today, the MPs from Lok
Sabha and Rajya Sabha along with West Bengal Industries
Minister Partha Chatterjee, also complained about "huge lack"
of coordination between Congress and coalition partners.

"We also told him that there is a huge lack of
coordination between coalition partners in the UPA-II. There
are opportunities to interact with the Prime Minister during
Cabinet meetings but there is lack of coordination among
allies of the UPA-II," the Minister of State for Health said.

The Prime Minister "agreed" that it will be improved,
Bandhopadhyay said.

He said the deliberations with the Prime Minister would be
conveyed to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
Singh shared the economic condition of the country with
the delegation, the Trinamool MP said.

"The PM has agreed with our sentiments. PM has
categorically said that he shares our views. He explained some
of his views which are related with economic side, economic
conditions of the country, economic position of the world,
necessity of increasing petroleum products prices," he said.

Mamata Banerjee had on Friday slammed the Centre for not consulting Trinamool Congress while taking crucial decisions affecting the common man and warned that she may opt out of the Congress-led UPA coalition government if things do not improve in future.

Addressing a press conference in Kolkata, the Trinamool Congress leader had lamented, “We are highly disappointed with the Congress’ policy of keeping our party out of important decisions.”

Slamming the Centre for taking such decisions, which have an adverse affect on the common man, Mamata had said, “My party won’t succumb to the UPA government’s pressure tactics as we have tolerated a lot in the past and adjusted.”

Claiming that the prices of petroleum products have been hiked as many as eleven times this year alone, Mamata had warned, “Any more economic pressure on the people won’t be accepted by our party now since we have been neglected by the Congress in the Union Cabinet.”

Her remarks had came shortly after the emergency meeting of Trinamool Congress MPs called to discuss the UPA government’s decision to hike fuel prices which ended with the party authorizing the Chief Minister to take a final call on the issue.

Mamata, had in past also, strongly protested against hike in the price of petro products, which leads to a price hike of all essential items.

Allies like the NCP and National Conference had also expressed their discomfort with the petrol price hike and sought a reconsideration of the decision.

With PTI inputs