Kolkata, Sep 18: With Trinamool Congress’s 72-hour deadline to the UPA Government to withdraw fuel price hike and other key policy decisions ending today, all eyes will now be on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who will today decide on her party’s continuance in the Congress-led coalition at the centre.
Banerjee had earlier issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the UPA government to immediately roll back the hike announced in the diesel prices, LPG cap and FDI in retail and threatened to take a tough action if the centre refuses to act swiftly to her party’s demands.
Banerjee will preside over the crucial meeting were all party MPs, State Ministers and Chief of frontal organisations have been asked to be present.
Banerjee had on Saturday took to the streets in Kolkata warning that the TMC would take ‘hard’ decisions at the end of her 72-hour deadline set by her party if the UPA Government did not scrap FDI in retail, diesel price hike and limit on subsidised LPG.
“We have called a party meeting on Tuesday to discuss these issues. If the Centre does not roll back the hike in diesel price and withdraw decisions on FDI in multi-brand retail and curbs on LPG, we will take decisions, however hard they may be. I hope the people will not misunderstand,” she told a rally.
Expressing astonishment over the government’s sudden big-ticket reforms, Banerjee said: “I don’t know what happened. So many decisions were taken on a single day. We want economic reforms that reach the grassroots, not something that benefits a section. These are anti-people decisions.”
“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.” Banerjee said “we are the second largest ally of UPA and we could have got more cabinet berths. We have now only the Railway ministry but that hardly matters to us. What matters to us are the people,” she added.
Banerjee further said that she could not betray the trust of the people, who have instilled confidence in her.
“We don’t want FDI in retail. This was in our election manifesto. The people voted us for five years. How can we betray their trust? How many times will you go on hiking prices at the cost of the common people?” she asked.
Opposition parties ranging from the Left to the right will hold a nation-wide strike on Thursday to protest against the reforms in retail on the grounds that super-chains like Wal-Mart and Tesco will obliterate thousands of corner stores and the livelihood of many small farmers.
The government has, however, been stressing that states have the right to decide whether to allow FDI in retail. (ANI)