West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee may have to do more on the internet than just a few Facebook posts to convince people why she is opposed to the recent economic reforms.
The Trinamool Congress chief withdrew support to the Congress-led UPA government on Tuesday, putting the Union government in a number crisis, stating that the decisions on FDI and diesel were 'anti-people' and they go against her party's manifesto.
"If we don't take a decision, they will even allow foreign players in pension sector. We can't tolerate," she said.
"We will not tolerate any anti-people decisions and we will oppose everything."
Her decision to quit, however, received as much flak as support from users active on Twitter and Facebook. Minutes after announcing the decision Tuesday night, Banerjee posted a statement on Facebook, that got over 8,000 likes and 3,000 comments, thanking the people of Bengal for providing her the strength to take a tough decision.
"I salute to our Maa Maati Manush. Thanks to all of you for your support. Thank you so much," Banerjee posted.
Another Facebook user Rajib Mukherjee said, "Didi, we thank you... Your decision is well timed and appropriate," while another seemed to suggest that Mamata was up to her political gimmicks. "Why there was no protest when electricity tariff has been increased five times after your government came to power," asked Mohammed Salimullah.
On Twitter, a user that goes by the handle @GabbarSingh tweeted, "Mamata Banerjee wants to ensure Danny Boyle comes back to India to shoot Slumdog millionaire-2 even after 20 years."
"A painter herself, Mamata Banerjee often draws. Here she withdraws," tweeted Stereotypewriter (@babumoshoy).
Banerjee also hit out at a section of the media stating that they were "spreading misinformation and disinformation at the behest of certain vested interests."
"Always I have noticed that, whenever a strong stand is taken for the cause of the common people, such section tries to malign and create confusion. It is better not to trust such rumours, gossips and planted news. If I have something new to say, then I will let you know direct. I will reiterate that we have taken a decision, which is ‘of the people, for the people and by the people’ – and also pro-people. We stand by it."
Tuesday's decision to 'pull-out' from the government was perhaps long overdue. The UPA was under constant threat of losing support from UPA's second largest constituent, ever since the two parties formed an alliance in 2009. The latest being the presidential polls that concluded in July this year.
The Union government however, has stuck to its decision on the reforms with finance minister P Chidambaram ruling out any rollback. "Where is the question of rollback?" he asked when question on the government's stand by reporters.
When Hindustan Times conducted an online poll asking whether the decision taken by the government on reforms was favourable, an overwhelming 73% voted in favour of the government stating that it was high time the country lost its 'policy paralysis' status.
The government's decision to move ahead on reforms received much support from business chambers as well. Chairperson and managing director of Mahindra & Mahindra, Anand Mahindra tweeted, "The recent spate of reforms will be a force multiplier if they become a wake up call to clear Decision Deadlocks in every part of Government."
"Again, we urge the Govt to stand its ground. Right-thinking Indians will be less than amused by partisan politics in a fragile economy," he said.
Ficci general secretary Rajiv Kumar told business channel CNBC in an interview, "I hope this time there will be no rollback. Allowing FDI in multi-brand retail will modernise the retail sector and transform it into an engine of growth. I want to congratulate the government and I hope that the states which have the onus to carry the initiative forward and join the bandwagon."
While the government may have received much support from the public as well as those from the business sector, what remains to see is how the government manages to stick to its stand and not succumb to political pressure.
After Wednesday's Congress core group meeting, it is almost certain that the relation between the Congress-led UPA and Trinamool Congress is as good as over, as neither the government nor Mamata are willing to back down on their decisions. How the government manages to complete its full term considering it is in a minority, relying on outside support from SP and BSP is anybody's guess.