Ahead of the Presidential poll, the UPA government and its key constituent Trinamool Congress inched closer to resolving the deadlock over West Bengal government's demand for a three-year moratorium on interest repayment on loans.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reportedly assured a Trinamool parliamentary party delegation that he will do "everything possible" to help the debt-stressed West Bengal.
"The PM told us that he would do everything within the realms of possibility and constitutional framework, to help Bengal," Trinamool leader and MoS Saugata Ray said after meeting him.
While this concession on interest repayment and restructuring of debt has been the Trinamool's top priority in all its recent talks with the Centre, the UPA too, may like to ensure that Trinamool with its 48,000 votes for Presidential election, doesn’t stray away from the ruling coalition. The UPA brass will also try to prevail upon Banerjee to allow some key reforms like the insurance bill and pension fund bill.
In the meeting, Ray and Trinamool's parliamentary party chief Sudip Bandopadhyay showed with facts and figures how the debt burden is a serious threat to Bengal's finances. They also pointed out how Mamata Banerjee's government is trying to bridge the fiscal deficit.
According to sources, the PM has asked them to submit a "well-drafted" memorandum highlighting these issues. Trinamool is likely to submit it ahead of Banerjee's visit to the Capital on May 4. The Congress hopes to come to an understanding with Banerjee during her tour. Apart from meeting the Prime Minister, Banerjee may also meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi — after a gap of almost a year.
"After many efforts, Mamata Banerjee has finally succeeded in convincing both the PM and the finance minister that the Centre must rise to the occasion to save Bengal," Bandopadhyay told HT.