Cong defends Mamata after motormen's stir paralysed Mumbai



New Delhi: Congress on Tuesday came out in defence of its ally and Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee after the opposition targeted her for "failing to avert the situation" which led to the motormen's strike paralysing Mumbai sub-urban rail services.

"All steps have been taken by the minister (Banerjee) and all steps will be taken," party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters here.

Asked whether the party was satisfied with the steps taken by Banerjee to avert the strike, "Certainly. All steps have been taken by the minister. We are satisfied with our alliance partner Mamta Banerjee. She is discharging her responsibility properly".

However, Natarajan said the strike has affected lakhs of people.

To a query on the alliance with Trinamool Congress breaking down for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections, Natarajan said, "it was very strong" at the Centre.

She expressed confidence that the alliance at the national level would remain strong.

On whether the allies were creating trouble for the UPA II, Natarajan said, "we have no problems with our allies. Allies and the government are functioning well. These are politically motivated charges," she said.

Natarajan also rejected charges that the party had double standards - one for Shashi Tharoor and another for Telecom Minister A Raja.

"There is only one standard. Our allies are functioning well," she said.

The Railway motormen called off their indefinite strike later in the day following talks with the state government. The decision came after the state government gave an assurance to them that it would mediate between the strikers and the Railway Ministry.

Only 20 per cent suburban trains were operated as a result of the strike for hike in pay scales and allowances as the western and eastern express highways of the financial capital were choked with commuters opting for road transport to reach their destination.

PTI