“I will stick to my position, come what may...the (TMC) ministers will tender their resignations,” Mamata told reporters, a day after she announced withdrawal of support and pull out of ministers, if the government does not backtrack on its decisions.
In New Delhi, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said: “We have tried to speak to her four days ago. The prime minister tried to speak to her. We have left the message to her that she can speak. We have not heard anything.”
Rejecting Chidambaram’s statement on Wednesday, she told reporters that nobody from Delhi contacted her before or after the Centre took the decisions to hike diesel price, cap supply of subsidised cylinders and allow FDI in retail. “I was never informed of the decisions on allowing FDI in retail. I will request Congress leaders not to distort facts. They must communicate reality. If they wanted to talk, why didn’t they talk?”,” Banerjee told reporters in Kolkata.
“I know how to respect political leaders. That ‘lakshman reka’ I have maintained,” she said, adding that the Congress party now wants to control channels, but they cannot control us.
“Minimum 24 cylinders should be given to a family in a year. How many times you will keep raising the petroleum prices? FDI in retail should be withdrawn,” the TMC leader said.
She said on September 14, the day the Union Cabinet took the decisions on FDI, she had told Congress President Sonia Gandhi that her party was opposed to these decisions.
Recalling that the statement of former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee that FDI in retail would not be implemented unless a consensus is reached among political parties, she said this is a commitment that the government adhere to.
The West Bengal chief minister said the government should implement any decision on FDI in retail only after a legislation is passed in Parliament in this regard. “FDI, we are not...we will organise protest everyday.”
On Tuesday, Banerjee had announced that her party would withdraw support to the UPA and pull out its ministers in protest against the economic decisions. She said she could reconsider her stand if the government slashes the diesel price hike of Rs 5 by Rs 3-4 per litre, withdraws the decision on FDI totally and raise the cap on supply of subsidised LPG cylinders. Banerjee said she told Sonia that her party cannot support these decisions and asked her to see that “our alliance is not broken”.
“I can’t compromise on issues. It is related to common people. If political parties don’t consider people’s feelings, if I cheat the people then I have no existence”.
She attacked the Centre saying it was in the habit of raising petroleum prices by Rs7-8 a litre and then bring it down by Re1 and it finally claims “see we have brought it down”.
“They started reforms in 1992. Now, still they are raising prices citing international prices. What are reforms for, if they are not for the common man. Reforms should come from the grassroots and not from the skies,” she said.
The TMC chief said there has been a 75 per cent increase in the prices of fertiliser which was anti-farmer.
Recalling that she was in the capital a month ago for a meeting of the UPA coordination committee and said, “now, where is the coordination. Now, coordination has become ordinance”.
She told the Congress that the UPA was not a single-party government but they have taken all the decisions unilaterally.
With Trinamool’s ministers in the Manmohan Singh government set to resign on Friday, the Congress was at its diplomatic best vis-a-vis Banerjee but insisted that the big ticket reforms were here to stay. “These decisions were taken after the most careful consideration… They stand,” Chidambaram said.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said: “The UPA government is not in any danger.”
She said the UPA government had always managed its numbers when tough decisions were needed to be taken.
Both Agriculture Minister and NCP leader Sharad Pawar and RJD’s Lalu Prasad were confident that the UPA will tide over the current crisis.
The Trinamool decision has made the Congress more dependent on the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
On Wednesday, Samajwadi chief Mulayam Singh Yadav warned that the “arrogance” of the Congress was going to hurt it badly.