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HindustanTimes Sat,22 Nov 2014

Mamata-UPA affair nears end, TMC ministers to quit today

Ravik Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, September 21, 2012
First Published: 07:50 IST(21/9/2012) | Last Updated: 11:03 IST(21/9/2012)

Trinamool Congress ministers at the Centre will hand over the letter proclaiming withdrawal of support to UPA-II, formally signalling the end of a 40-month-old troubled relationship with the Congress, to President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday if he grants an appointment.

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Party chief Mamata Banerjee said the Trinamool had already sought an appointment with Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"We'll submit the letter to the President after the ministers hand over the resignation letter to the prime minister," Mamata said at the state secretariat on Thursday. Once it is submitted, the letter to the President will proclaim a minority status for the UPA-II, arguably the biggest crisis of the 40month-old government.

Three of those who will resign - Saugata Roy (minister of state, Urban Development), Sultan Ahmed (MoS, Tourism) and Sishir Adhikari (MoS, Rural Development) - reached New Delhi on Thursday, itself. A minister said the meeting would also provide them an opportunity for a muchawaited, last-minute interaction.

Both Mamata and the Congress are at loggerheads, accusing each other of not communicating over the former's protest against FDI in retail, and the diesel and LPG price hikes. On Wednesday, while Union finance minister P Chidambaram claimed that the Centre had fruitlessly tried to contact Mamata over the past four days, the Trinamool chief tore into the Centre's contention, saying the Union government was resorting to "untruths".

"We're all ready for tomorrow. Many of us have jotted down the resignation letter. We'll meet the prime minister in person and submit it. This may also be an opportunity of interaction with him if he wants to," Sultan Ahmed, also a party core committee member, said.

"After our resignations are accepted, we'll approach the President with our letter of withdrawal of support," Ahmed added, when asked when the party would officially withdraw support.

Mukul Roy (railway minister) and CM Jatua (MoS, Information and Broadcasting) are expected to reach New Delhi on Friday morning. Sudip Bandopadhyay (MoS, Health) will also be present in the capital. The ministers are scheduled to meet the prime minister at about 2pm.

"The letter will be a short and formal one, and I'll write it down tomorrow. It'll state no reason for the resignation. After that, let's see his (prime minister's) reaction," said Sisir Adhikari, the party's core committee member and MoS, Rural Development.

Party sources said they expected the prime minister to seek an explanation from the ministers, who are ready to air their grievances. The ministers will get a much-awaited opportunity to talk to Manmohan Singh.

Meanwhile, Mamata has asked her state ministers to brace for long days of financial hardship. "Regarding moratorium on interest on loans or any additional package, they haven't given us anything. And now, there's no hope for it at all," Subrata Mukherjee, state panchayat minister, said.


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