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Be prepared for the worst, Didi tells partymen

kolkata Updated: Jun 18, 2012 01:15 IST
HT Correspondent

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, facing isolation after the Congress-led UPA named Pranab Mukherjee as its presidential nominee, has reportedly asked her partymen to be prepared for any eventuality — politically and financially — in Delhi and West Bengal.

With Banerjee firm on the candidature of APJ Abdul Kalam for president, the two parties are on the verge of a break-up and Trinamool leaders believe the Congress may wrest some portfolios, including the crucial railway ministry, from the party.

There is also the possibility of the Congress quitting the West Bengal government.

Financially, the growing chasm would mean that the chief minister’s demand for a three-year moratorium on payment of interest on central loans, which is critical for the state, is unlikely to be met.

Moreover, the Centre may dilly-dally in releasing funds for various central and state-centre projects in the state.

“They may try to bring trouble for Bengal by not giving our due moratorium on interests on loans apart from other funds. But we have to tide over it and our leader has asked us to be prepared,” said a senior MP close to Banerjee.

Banerjee has reportedly told party workers that unless the Congress compels her, she will not leave UPA-II.

However, she held a meeting with senior leaders including state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee, state finance minister Amit Mitra, urban development minister Firhad Hakim and Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh to discuss the issues.

“Even if the Congress leaves us, nothing will happen. We have enough numbers and the people are with Mamata Banerjee. We are not asking them to leave, but if they want to, they can,” said Subrata Mukherjee.

The chief minister has also directed Mitra to explore ways of increasing the state's revenue and curtailing government expenditure.

“Under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, we are prepared for any eventuality and situation. We are loyal soldiers,” said Sisir Adhikari, core committee member of the Trinamool and Union minister of state for rural development.