TMC may pull out ministers, give outside support

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.

Kunal Ghosh, TMC Rajya Sabha MP and a close aide of Banerjee, said all options are open and dismissed as speculation reports that the party has decided to withdraw support.

Party sources said Banerjee was shocked at the way the central government was taking “anti-people” decisions one after the other.