Trinamool Congress on Friday formally withdrew support to the UPA government and its six ministers quit in protest against FDI in retail.
DONE WITH THE UPA: Mamata Banerjee at a press conference in Kolkata on Wednesday. (HT Photo)
The party, which has 19 members in Lok Sabha, gave a letter withdrawing support to the government to President Pranab Mukherjee.
Minutes earlier, six Trinamool Congress ministers submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who expressed sadness over their decision.
The ministers -- Mukul Roy, Sudip Bandhyopadhay, Sultan Ahmed, Saugata Roy, Sisir Adhikary and CM Jatua -- went to the Prime Minister's 7, Race Course Road residence to submit their resignations.
Straight from there, they went to Rashtrapati Bhavan for give letter withdrawing support.
"We, the six Trinamool Congress ministers of the council of ministers, including Cabinet minister, went to the Prime Minister's residence at 4pm and we handed over to him individual letters of resignations of all the six Ministers," said Saugata Roy.
"Now, we have come to Rashtrapati Bhavan and handed over a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee, signed by Mukul Roy, chairman of Trinamool Congress parliamentary party, withdrawing our support to UPA-II government... The President has accepted our letter of withdrawal of support," he said.
Earlier, while receiving the resignation letters, the Prime Minister said he was "sad" that they were quitting, Bandhyopadhay said.
Asked whether Trinamool leaders had demanded a floor test by the government to check its majority, Saugata Roy said, "no, we did not. Beyond what I have told you, we have not said anything extra."
He refused to reveal what the Prime Minister told them, saying it was confidential.
In this file photo, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee is seen along with other TMC MPs at a meeting in Kolkata. (AP Photo)
Mukul Roy was the only Cabinet Minister among the six holding Railways portfolio since March.
Bandhyopadhyay was minister of state for health, Ahmed was MoS for tourism, Sougata Roy was MoS urban development, Adhikary was MoS rural development and CM Jatua MoS information and broadcasting.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday had announced her decision to withdraw support to the UPA protesting the Centre's decisions to hike diesel prices, withdraw subsidy on cooking gas and allow FDI in multi-brand retail.
As all the Trinamool Congress ministers resigned from the UPA government to protest against its economic policies, party chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday said she would keep on fighting against the 'anti-people' policies of the central government.
"If you try to scare me, I will not get afraid. Because my life is a history of struggle. I will live like a tiger till my death. I can sever ties with every thing for Ma, Mati and Manush (mother, land and people), but cannot sever tie with them for anything," Banerjee said at a public rally at Gaighata in North 24 Parganas district.
Terming the Manmohan Singh government's decision of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail and the recent diesel price hike as "anti-people", Banerjee, the West Bengal chief minister, said she would keep on fighting against the measures.
"Your shops will be no more, your land will be no more and you will have no food to eat. Moreover, they have also increased the prices of diesel and LPG (cooking gas). What will you people do? Will you accept all these or give a befitting reply?" she asked.
"That is why I am fighting and will keep on fighting for Ma, Mati and Manush," Banerjee thundered.
The government asserted on Friday it was not in a minority following withdrawal of support by the Trinamool Congress and it will carry forward the economic reforms after talking to its allies.
Law minister Salman Khurshid, parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and minister of state for Prime Minister's Office V Narayansamy exuded confidence of the government having the necessary numbers in the Lok Sabha despite the Trinamool with its 19 MPs withdrawing support.
"We have the numbers," Bansal told NDTV news channel while Khurshid denied that the UPA government would be reduced to a minority after losing the support of its second biggest ally.
"We are not a minority government.. a minority government has to be proved to be a minority government and the arithmetic points to us not being in a minority because of support of other parties," Khurshid told NDTV.
"The support of other parties is there, unless they say they are not on board."
Narayansamy also said the government was not in minority and will talk to its allies to carry forward reforms.
"Ours in not a minority government, apart from our own allies (the government) is supported by the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP). Therefore, our numbers are going beyond 304. Therefore, nobody can say our government is a minority government," Narayansamy told NDTV.
Narayanasamy said that some political parties inside take part in decision making in a coalition government and other parties support from it from outside.
"This is the system we have in a democratic country."
He said Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had said they will extend support to the government.
Narayansamy also said Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee was consulted by commerce minister Anand Sharma on FDI in multi-brand retail.
"He explained in detail what are the advantages - the (returns) farmers will be getting, employment generation will be there, investment will come to our country," said Narayansamy.
He also recalled that there was opposition by Sangh parviar organisations to establishment of McDonalds and KFC in India and there was a lot of agitations, but there were many McDonald and KFC outlets in various parts of country now and boys and girls had found employment there.
"In India, we are now looking for more investments, more employement and developemnt. Any government will look for it," he said.
He said the government will engage all its allies and supporting parties at the time of taking decisions on various crucial issues.
"Now the government has to see which are the reforms which we can implement without much trouble... much difficulty. Keeping that in mind we are moving forward. We will talk to our allies and carry forward out reforms."