The Trinamool Congress on Sunday appeared to be set for pulling out its ministers from the UPA government — only as an extreme step — if the Centre does not reverse the decisions on diesel and cooking gas price hikes and allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector.
Although railway minister and TMC leader Mukul Roy said, “Our party chief (Mamata Banerjee) will take a final call on the next course of action after the parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday”, the Congress looked unperturbed.
Congress sources in Delhi hinted that the government was under no threat as the most difficult and the second largest UPA constituent all but made it clear that it would not walk out of the UPA.
The party expressed the hope that Banerjee would not like to be seen as siding with the BJP."The state has 30% Muslim population… she can’t take the risk of going with the BJP. She may pull out her ministers," a senior party leader said.
Besides, there are reports that as Banerjee’s party appeared to have been divided on the issue of withdrawing of support, complete withdrawal seemed to be a difficult option for her.
Instead, Banerjee is reportedly exploring ways to keep the government under check.
One of the main worries for the Trinamool at the moment is that even if it withdraws support, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s SP and Mayawati’s BSP appeared to be in no mood to rock the UPA boat.
“If we completely withdraw, the Congress will still have the numbers with Mulayam and Mayawati by its side and go ahead with its policies. We will have no say then on any issue,” said a Rajya Sabha MP close to Banerjee.
Oppn calls strike on September 20
The Opposition and the government’s outside supporters, the Samajwadi Party and Janata Dal (S), called a nationwide strike on September 20 protest the FDI in retail and diesel price hike.
But NDA constituent Shiv Sena decided to stay away from the strike call, citing Ganesh festival as the reason. Besides, the four Left parties, SP, BJD, TDP and JD(S) have given a separate strike call on the same day.