Mamata serves ultimatum to UPA govt

Kolkata: Giving an ultimatum to the UPA government, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said her party would not remain in the coalition if it effected another hike in prices of petro products.

"Trinamool Congress will not remain in the UPA government if the Centre resorts to another increase in prices of diesel, kerosene and LPG," Banerjee told a news channel after a meeting with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at the Raj Bhavan here.

Her ultimatum followed the threat to pull out of the government on November 4 over the hike in petrol price. She said her party would not remain in the UPA government if it was not needed.

Asked whether she had any hint that the Congress was trying to rope in some other allies as an alternative to her party to ensure the survival of the government, she said, "Congress are always in the habit of doing this. "If there is a tiff with Lalu Prasad they woo Nitish Kumar. If they have trouble with Mayawati, they woo Mulayam. They can do what they like, but ultimately they will have to go for elections."

Banerjee said as long as "we are in the government we will maintain courtesy. If they think they have got another ally and they don`t need us, let them tell us. We will come out".  Banerjee said it was not a one-party rule and in a coalition government the politics of imposing any decision on other partners and doing as Congress liked was not done.

"The UPA coalition is a multi-party arrangement. And, they can say they will take another ally in our place. We don`t bother about it," she said. Referring to her party MPs meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the day, she said, "Our protest is just.

The prime minister told our MPs that there is no information now about increasing prices of diesel, kerosene and LPG. At the same, he has not made any commitment not to do so. He is non-committal."

She said her party MPs have registered their grievances over the fuel price hike and reports of possible hike in prices of diesel, kerosene and LPG. "We will wait. If fuel prices are still hiked, we will not remain in the UPA government," she said.

She, however, said that any hasty step by her party might be misconstrued by the people. Referring to Rs 1.82 increase in petrol price, she said "That he (PM) will not roll back petrol price is his decision. This is the decision of the government. What they will do or not is absolutely their affair. But Trinamool Congress is not in agreement with this decision."