Mamata in capital `to plead` for West Bengal

Mamata Banerjee arrived in the capital tonight and is expected to press the Centre for financial assistance to her cash-strapped government.

Last Updated: Nov 22, 2011, 22:39 PM IST

New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata
Banerjee arrived in the capital tonight and is expected to
press the Centre for financial assistance to her cash-strapped
government.

"Going to plead for Bengal," Banerjee, who is likely to
meet several Union Ministers and central leaders here
tomorrow, replied cryptically before leaving for the airport
in Kolkata.

The visit also comes in the backdrop of strain in ties
between her Trinamool Congress and Congress, with Banerjee
threatening to walkout of the UPA after petrol prices were
raised. But the party later clarified that it would pullout if
there was a further hike.

Banerjee is sore with Congress over "inadequate" help from
the Centre to tide over the huge debt bequeathed to her by the
erstwhile Left Front government.

Banerjee had sought a special financial package of Rs
1,900 crores from the Centre soon after coming to power in the
state. She had last month met the Prime Minister and sought a
moratorium for at least three years on repayment of loan by
the state, keeping in view its financial condition.

Banerjee today chaired a meeting of the Trinamool Congress
Parliamentary Party, in which Sudip Bandopadhyay was elected
the chief of the Lok Sabha Parliamentary Party. Kalyan
Banerjee will be the chief whip.

The Chief Minister declined to comment if she would meet
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Banerjee has also been grappling with not-so-comfortable a
relationship with West Bengal unit of Congress and had hit out
when Deepa Dasmushi, MP, led a silent procession from Hazra,
near the Trinamool chief`s Kalighat residence, in protest
against attacks on Congress workers.

The Trinamool Congress chief was quick to underscore that
her party, the second largest constituent of the UPA, was not
dependent on the Congress in the state, while her ally
depended on her party at the national level.

PTI