Trinamool Congress, the second biggest constituent of the UPA, today dealt a major blow to the Manmohan Singh government when it decided to withdraw its support on the issue of petroleum price hike, FDI in retail and corruption.
“We are withdrawing our support. Our ministers will go to Delhi, meet the Prime Minister and tender their resignations at 3 PM,” TMC chief and West Bengal chief ministerMamata Banerjee announced after a meeting of party MPs, top leaders and office bearers.
Banerjee announced the decision after a meeting of the Trinamool Congress’ parliamentary party, that went on for over three hours.
Addressing mediapersons after the meeting, the West Bengal chief minister accused the UPA of not giving the respect to the Trinamool Congress that it deserved.
“The government has lost their credentials. If they cannot keep their friendship with us, they cannot keep it with anyone,” Banerjee said.
“My party’s six ministers have decided to resign. It is time to fight the battle alone,” said Banerjee .
Mamata Banerjee, however, said that her party is ready to review stand if Centre rolls back decision on FDI, gives 12 subsidised cylinders annually and reduces diesel price by Rs 3.
The reforms unveiled by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week include allowing in foreign retail giants such as Walmart and Tesco, as well foreign airlines, and included a 12% hike in the price of subsidised diesel.
The decision brings the UPA’s effective strength in the 545-seat Lok Sabha from 273 to 254, which is slightly below the half-way mark.
This would make the UPA more dependent on the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, both of which extend outside legislative support to the UPA regime.
At her presser, Banerjee lashed out at the Congress, saying the FDI decision was unveiled to divert attention from the coal blocks allocation controversy involving the government.
She accused the Congress of acting unilaterally, without giving due respect to its allies. “We cannot tolerate this.”
“If FDI is allowed in retail market, where will the retailers go? There will be a disaster,” she said.
The Trinamool chief demanded to know why the government was not making efforts to bring back the huge volumes of black money allegedly stashed by Indians in foreign banks.
“Somebody has to bell the cat,” she said, explaining her decision.