Saturday, October 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Mamata withdraws resignation

CALCUTTA, Oct 6 (UNI) — Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and Minister of State for External Affairs Ajit Kumar Panja today withdrew their resignations after a written assurance from Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to again look into the issue of the recent hike in petroleum prices and take “appropriate action” after his return from Mumbai.

Addressing a press conference at her residence here, Ms Banerjee read out a letter from Mr Vajpayee, faxed to her this afternoon, and said on the basis of his written assurance, they had decided to withdraw their resignations with immediate effect.

“As the Prime Minister himself has talked to me twice and even written a letter promising me to relook and take appropriate action regarding the sudden hike in the prices of petroleum products, including that of LPG and kerosene, which are largely used by the commonman, we have decided to reciprocate his noble gesture and rejoin the Cabinet,” Ms Banerjee said.

She also quoted the Prime Minister’s letter: “I fully share your concern and sentiment about the effect of the price hike on the common people. Even though government has tried to minimise the burden of price increase on consumers, it cannot be disputed that the hike does cause hardship to the common citizens. We are closely watching the trend in international oil prices and I assure you that the entire issue will be given a re-look and appropriate action taken after I return from Mumbai subsequent to my knee surgery”.

Ms Banerjee claimed that a written assurance from none other than the Prime Minister himself was tantamount to a victory for the common man for whom both she and her party — Trinamool Congress-stood.

To a query, she clarified that her decision would hold only till Mr Vajpayee recovered from his knee surgery after which the latter had promised to relook into the issue.

“At present I want to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to the Prime Minister, who, despite his illness, took serious steps to settle the issue, which was of prime concern for all,” Ms Banerjee, referring to her telephonic talks with Mr Vajpayee on October 4 as well as today.

“I am doubly grateful to him because despite his illness, the Prime Minister also inquired about the latest flood situation in the state and sympathised with the large number of affected people,” she said, adding the Prime Minister had also conveyed his warm wishes to the people of Bengal on the joyous occasion of Durga Puja in his letter.

“Hence, I am resuming my duty as Railway Minister from today,” she said.


BJP welcomes Mamata’s decision
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Oct 6 — The Bharatiya Janata Party today welcomed Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision to withdraw her resignation from the Vajpayee government following an assurance from the Prime Minister to reconsider the recent hike in petroleum prices.

“She knows that people had voted for the NDA Government so that the country gets a stable government and she won’t do anything that would affect this”, the BJP Vice-President, Mr Kailashpati Mishra told mediapersons here.

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