TMC ministers set to quit UPA, PM to address nation
Trinamool Congress ministers at the Centre will hand over the letter proclaiming withdrawal of support to UPA-II to President Pranab Mukherjee and PM is likely to explain to the nation economic measures for which he has staked his government.delhi Updated: Sep 21, 2012 14:57 IST
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.
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 40 month-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 much awaited, last-minute interaction.
Trivedi not to join TMC MPs
Former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi has announced he will not join Trinamool Congress MPs when they meet the President this evening and announce they are pulling out of the UPA government.
"I won't be going with other Trinamool Congress MPs to meet the president to withdraw support," Trivedi was quoted by TV news channel CNN-IBN as saying.
Trinamool Congress leader Sougata Roy, however, told the channel that Trivedi was in West Bengal and won't be able to come to Delhi.
Trivedi had run headlong into trouble with Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee by proposing a 10% hike in the 2012-13 railway budget. He was forced to quit, despite support from many quarters, including the prime minister.
Bitter TMC - UPA relationship
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.
"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.
PM to address nation
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to explain to the nation on Friday the reason behind the step and the benefits FDI in retail would entail.
The Prime Minister's explanation could be in the form of a written message or a televised address, sources said.
PM is expected to spell out the reasons that prompted the government to allow FDI in multi-brand retail.
He is likely to cite the difficult times facing the economy and emphasise that the step was aimed at pushing economic growth and generating employment.
The thrust of the Prime Minister's message is expected to be that the step was taken in national interest.
The PM, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other senior leaders of the Congress will meet this evening at 5 pm to discuss their strategy.