TMC may consider pulling out ministers, give outside support to UPA-2
Kolkata: With the Centre taking some hard decisions not acceptable to it, Trinamool Congress, a major UPA constituent, may consider pulling out its ministers from the government and give outside support to it.
TMC chief, Mamata Banerjee, who had set a 72-hour deadline on Friday for the government to rollback its decision on diesel price hike and cutting supply of subsidised LPG cylinders, and FDI in multi-brand retail, is set to consult party leaders and MPs on Tuesday on the next course of action.
Party insiders said one serious option that could be considered is withdrawing its Cabinet Minister for Railways and six other Ministers of State at the Centre unless the government rolls back some of its decisions at least partially.
They said the way out could be that the Centre could effect a token cut on the Rs five per litre hike in diesel prices and give more subsidised LPG cylinders and not restrict them to six.
However, TMC, which has 19 MPs in Lok Sabha, is said to be strongly opposed to allowing FDI in multi-brand retailing.
TMC sources said that the party was not in a mood to rock the UPA boat by withdrawing support to the government.
Banerjee had told a rally here yesterday, "We are not in favour of quitting the government. We are always in favour of not breaking the alliance. But we are committed to the people."
SP and BSP, the outside supporters of the UPA government, have also strongly opposed these policies. While SP, which has 22 MPs in Lok Sabha, has said that it was continuing support to the government to keep the communal forces at bay, BSP, with a strength of 21 MPs, has said its executive will meet on October 9 or 10 to consider whether to continue its outside support or not.
Meanwhile, BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Chandan Mitra, while
talking to reporters in Shimla, alleged that the decision to allow FDI in multibrand retail was a result of "US pressure".
Mitra said the decision would harm the Indian traders and big players in consumer market like Walmart would eliminate them.
The senior BJP leader asked the allies of the UPA and the parties supporting it to oppose the move and protest the interests of the Indian traders.
Another BJP MP Radha Mohan Singh accused the UPA
government of compromising national interest while taking a decision on allowing FDI in retail.
"After country's economic reforms in 1990, major foreign retail companies were making repeated attempts to grab our market. The Congress, under pressure from the foreign countries, has compromised on nation's interests and granted permission for FDI," he said.
He said it was unfortunate that such a decision has been taken without taking into consideration the interests of five crore of retailers across the country.