November 7th, 2011
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Will Mamata Banerjee pull out of UPA?

MamataNew Delhi: Mamata Banerjee was very offended and irritated with UPA’s indifferent attitude, where they did not show the courtesy to consult the Trinamool Congress Chief before deciding the the petrol price rise. 18 of Mamata’s MP’s will meet the Prime Minister to protest against the recent petrol price hike. “The Trinamool Congress chief is “very serious” about pulling out of the UPA government on the issue,” an MP said.

Mamata Banerjee says she was not consulted on the Rs. 1.82 petrol price hike last week. On Friday, she lashed out at the functioning of the government that her party is a significant part of and said her seven ministers in the UPA government were ready to resign. Trinamool sources say those resignation letters are with Banerjee.

The West Bengal Chief Minister herself is expected to join a crucial meeting between Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Governor MK Narayanan on the state’s fiscal situation tomorrow. The Governor had taken up the financial issue a week after Ms Banerjee had asked the Centre to treat West Bengal “differently” and sought a debt restructuring plan. Ms Banerjee is also expected to meet Mr Mukherjee separately. The major agenda will be the deep fiscal trouble her state is in.

The outcome of both those meetings will bear on the Trinamool’s final decision, the one in Kolkata perhaps more. Many see the latest Mamata Banerjee threat as a game plan to press for more funds for her state. The angry ally card gives her the opportunity to bargain harder.The Trinamool leaders are demanding changes in the operational structure of the UPA coalition; they are also likely to put forward their demand for monthly or quarterly meetings. A number of states will see elections in the next few months and the Congress’ “aam aadmi” plank will be difficult to balance with petrol now costing Rs. 17 more than it was at the beginning of this year.



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