TMC meets to decide on support to UPA govt

The Trinamool Congress parliamentary party is holding a second round of meeting here to decide party`s stand on hiked diesel price, LPG and FDI.

Zeenews Bureau

Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress parliamentary party is holding a second round of meeting here to decide party`s stand on hiked diesel price, LPG and FDI.

West Bengal Chief Minister and party chief Mamata Banerjee is now seeking TMC MPs’ views on the future course of action.

The first round of meeting saw over two hours of deliberations.

The meeting, attended by all Trinamool members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha along with senior party leaders and ministers of the state Cabinet, is being held at the historic Town Hall auditorium.

Banerjee is reported to have discussed various options with party leaders at the meeting.

While setting a 72-hour deadline for the UPA to rollback these decisions, Banerjee had warned of "hard decisions".

That deadline ended on Monday without any rollback.

Ahead of the crucial meeting, prominent party leader Saugata Roy had indicated the party could pull out its ministers from the Cabinet if its rollback demands on FDI in retail, cap on LPG subsidy and diesel price hike were not met.

Withdrawal of support from the government was, however, not discussed, Roy, also Union Minister of State for Urban Development, said.

"Mamata Banerjee has not said any sort of withdrawal of support. We will take a tough decision if the Centre does not accept our demands. We have two commitments - to fight the anti-people decisions of the UPA government and to see the stability of the government. We have to strike a balance between the two," he said.

He said the Centre was yet to make any offer to TMC Chief Mamata Banerjee.

"Hard decisions would be taken if the Centre does not accede to the demands (of TMC). There will be no soft compromise. We do not bark but we also bite".

Earlier in the day, Banerjee had made her intentions clear that she will not move an inch on her party’s ultimatum to the UPA government to rollback fuel price hike and cap on LPG, saying that there can be no compromise on principles.

Speaking to a private TV news channel, the West Bengal CM said, “There can be no compromise on principles. We have made our stand clear; it is now for the Union government to respond to it.”

However, the firebrand West Bengal leader had said that a final decision will be taken after consulting all TMC MPs.

Giving a setback to Congress party’s efforts to win back support of the Trinamool Congress, Mamata said, “I am not in politics for a chair. I have to fulfill people’s expectations.”

The Congress leadership is still confident of convincing Mamata to stay as a key UPA ally. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also expected to speak to Mamata shortly after the parliamentary board meeting of the Trinamool Congress.

The Congress, on the other hand, appears confident that it will be able to convince key ally Mamata Banerjee to stay on in the government. "We hope we will be able to convince Mamata, she is a very valued ally of the UPA. She has made it clear she does not want the government to fall," Congress spokesperson PC Chacko was quoted as saying to a leading TV news channel.

Whether Mamata withdraws support from the UPA government or decides to continue in the Congress-led coalition, her decision will be watched closely by the two arch rivals from Uttar Pradesh - the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Mamata’s decision to pull out support from the UPA government can lead to Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav joining the Congress-led coalition. Mayawati`s BSP has 21 MPs and Mulayam`s Samajwadi Party has 22 and both are leaders with open channels of communication with the Congress.

(With Agency inputs)