Kolkata/New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday withdrew her
Trinamool Congress party's support to the UPA government, but both
she and the Congress indicated a last minute patch up may still be
Banerjee announced the unexpected decision after a three-hour
meeting of party leaders in Kolkata, four days after the central
government unleashed a wave of reforms aimed at kickstarting a
At her aggressive best, Banerjee told the media that Trinamool's
six ministers -- one cabinet and five ministers of state -- would
submit their resignations to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New
"We can't be a party to anti-people decisions. We had expected the
government would roll back their decisions. But they have decided
"So we ... are withdrawing our support from UPA-2," she said,
speaking mainly in Bengali.
"This government has lost its credibility," she added.
However, Banerjee gave a lifeline to UPA, saying she would
reconsider withdrawal of support if the government took back its
decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand
retail, cut the hiked diesel prices by Rs.3, and raised the number
of subsidised cooking gas cylinders each household can get in a
year to 12.
Simultaneously, the Congress said Tuesday night that it still
viewed the Trinamool as a valuable ally.
"Till a final decision is taken, we consider the Trinamool a
valuable ally," Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said.
The Trinamool, with 19 members in the 545-seat Lok Sabha, was the
second largest constituent in the multi-party UPA.
This would make the UPA more dependent on the Samajwadi Party and
Bahujan Samaj Party, which extend outside legislative support to
the UPA regime.
Within minutes, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) asked the
government to prove its majority in the Lok Sabha.
Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury suggested that Banerjee could still
go back on her decision. "We should wait till Friday," added
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad.
At her presser, Banerjee lashed out at the Congress, saying the
FDI decision was unveiled to divert attention from the coal blocks
allocation controversy involving the government.
She accused the Congress of acting unilaterally, without giving
respect to its allies. "We cannot tolerate this."
"If FDI is allowed in retail market, where will the retailers go?
There will be a disaster," she said.
Banerjee said she spoke to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi four days
back, requesting her to persuade the government to roll back the
decisions on FDI, diesel and cooking gas cylinders.
"But nothing of that sort happened."
The Trinamool chief demanded to know why the government was not
bringing back the huge volumes of black money allegedly stashed by
Indians in foreign banks.
"Somebody has to bell the cat," she said, explaining her decision
A day after the government announced its economic decisions,
Banerjee had declared that her party would take "hard decisions"
if these were not taken back. Her 72-hour deadline ended Monday.
The Trinamool-UPA break-up comes two days before a nationwide
strike called Thursday by all opposition parties against the