M A I N   N E W S

Another hike and support will be off, warns Trinamool
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi/Kolkata, Nov 8
Trinamool Congress would pull out of the UPA if there is a hike in the prices of diesel, LPG or kerosene, asserted Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata today.

She told a TV channel that there was definite information that the Empowered Group of Ministers in its meeting on November 21 would clear the Oil Ministry’s proposal to hike diesel and LPG rates. A Trinamool Congress delegation, she claimed, had informed the Prime Minister in no uncertain terms that if fuel prices were increased once more, it would not be possible for them to remain in the UPA.

The ultimatum was served soon after the Prime Minister appealed to the Trinamool Congress MPs to appreciate global trends. After the meeting, Sudip Bandopadhyay, speaking for the delegation, told reporters that they had conveyed their concern to the PM and explained that they were finding it difficult to explain to the people why prices were going up but never came down even when international prices decline.

The delegation presented a copy of the resolution adopted at the party’s Parliamentary Party meeting held in Kolkata to the Prime Minister. They also asked for a coordination panel between the two allies to discuss crucial issues before they are placed before the Cabinet.

Bandhopadhyay said the delegation categorically told the PM that the Trinamool was opposed to any decision that would lead to another rise in the prices of diesel, LPG and kerosene, as had been reported by a section of media.

The PM told the delegation that he was not aware of any fresh move to increase the prices of diesel, LPG and kerosene. He explained the economic compulsions which necessitated the hike in petrol prices and is understood to have asked TMC leaders not to take any hasty decision.

The TMC leaders’ meeting with the Prime Minister, which took place around the same time when Mamata was talking to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Kolkata, appear to be part of a well drafted political strategy by the state Chief Minister to ensure a substantial financial deal for West Bengal and assert her relevance at the Centre.

According to top government sources, Mamata effectively used the issue to get a special economic package for her state apart from an assurance that there will be no increase in kerosene, diesel or LPG prices. The government may also consider slashing some taxes on petrol to slightly reduce the impact.

Political observers believe that the latest pressure tactic by Mamata also signifies her desire to play the role of a “conscious keeper” in the UPA II like the Left did in the UPA-I government.

While Congress may not be losing any sleep yet over Trinamool chief’s moves, but coming on the eve of the Winter Session of Parliament the party wanted to resolve the dissent fast so that it is not picked up by the Opposition.





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