Relief to exit Mamata cabinet: West Bengal Congress
Launching a scathing attack on chief minister Mamata Banerjee for her "dictatorial attitude", and claiming that the law and order situation in the state had been deteriorating, the West Bengal Pradesh Congress on Friday said it would be "relieved" leave the state cabinet.
At a media conference minutes after the Trinamool's ministers put in their papers to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi, Pradesh Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya announced the party's decision to leave the 16-month-old Banerjee cabinet and equated the chief minister with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
"Why will she repeat what Modi has to say about the Congress? A progressive and secular Bengal will not tolerate Modi's words coming out of Trinamool's mouth," Bhattacharya said.
The Congress is set to take a decision Saturday about withdrawing support from the Banerjee government in the state.
"Since we had forged an alliance with the Trinamool, it is an obligation on us to meet the governor(MK Narayanan) and formally tell him of our decision to withdraw. All the party office bearers and the ministers are slated to attend a meeting Saturday morning, where we will decide about this," Bhattacharya said.
The Pradesh Congress Committee chief said that the chief minister's opposition to FDI in retail would spell doom for the state's economy.
"In her regime, the state is steadily hurtling downwards, the law and order situation has steadily deteriorated, there are atrocities against women," Bhattacharya said at the Pradesh Congress headquarters, Bidhan Bhavan.
"We are not being allowed to hold meetings. Since we were in the ministry so long, we were putting up with it all. We cannot anymore bear the dictatorial attitude of the government. We are relieved," Bhattacharya said.
Following the exit of Trinamool Congress' union ministers from the union cabinet Friday, the Congress, tit for tat, declared that all six of its ministers - two of cabinet rank and four ministers of state - will put in their papers before Banerjee Saturday.
Batting for FDI in retail for the state, Bhattacharya said the reform was necessary for the revival of Bengal's economy and emphasised that the move would not jeopardise the interests of either farmers or small retailers.
Asked if the exit from the state cabinet would dent the party's power in the state, Bhattacharya said: "We are a national party. The move will not lessen our political power."
He, however, declined to comment when asked if he considered the Congress' move of forging an alliance with the Trinamool a strategic mistake.
He refused to make any appeal to the party high command about the number of union ministers the party would prefer from the state.
"It is not the norm for the Pradesh Congress to make such appeals. The central high command and the prime minister will decide," he said.
Miffed by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government's decisions over hike in diesel price and foreign investment in multi-brand retail, the Trinamool Friday withdrew support to the ruling coalition at the centre.