New Delhi/Kolkata: The
Congress-led government Wednesday refused to roll back its big
ticket economic reforms, even as a belligerent Trinamool Congress
remained adamant on quitting the ruling UPA.
With both sides declining to relent, a UPA-Trinamool divorce set
for Friday was expected to go ahead. All Trinamool ministers in
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government will resign that
On Wednesday, amid political fireworks, India Inc told the
government not to take back its decisions to hike diesel prices,
allow FDI in multi-brand retail trade and cap the supply of
subsidised cooking gas cylinders.
The government was, meanwhile, bracing for a nationwide shutdown
called by the opposition Thursday.
Even the DMK, a UPA ally, has thrown its weight behind the strike.
Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata
Banerjee said in Kolkata that her party was firm on leaving the
"We will not budge from our stand no matter what," she said at
Minus her party's 19 MPs, the Congress-led government has been
reduced to a working minority in the 545-seat Lok Sabha,
increasing its dependence on the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj
Despite Banerjee's unyielding stance, the Congress remained
"These decisions were taken after the most careful consideration…
They stand," Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said.
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma echoed the view.
"We are not going to go back on the decision as we do not believe
in the word 'rollback', and this decision was taken after
consultation with each and every state," he said in Ahmedabad.
Along with party colleagues Ambika Soni and Digvijay Singh, he
expressed confidence that the UPA government will last its full
term -- till 2014.
Ambika Soni said: "The UPA government is not in any danger."
Digvijay Singh told NDTV: "(We) will carry on till 2014."
Congress sources admitted that its emissaries were in touch with
Samajwadi chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati, who
command 22 and 21 MPs respectively and give legislative support to
The Samajwadi Party is bitterly opposed to FDI in multi-brand
The Left asked the government to roll back its economic decisions
-- or quit.
"FDI in multi-brand retail trade is opposed by the majority in
parliament," Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Prakash Karat
said in New Delhi.
"So the government should not proceed with (these measures). If
the government does not roll back these measures, it has no right
to continue in office," he added.
The industry asked the government not to roll back the reform
measures aimed at kickstarting the sagging economy.
"The government should not roll back... It will send a signal that
the government is not capable of taking decisions," said R.V.
Kanoria of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and
Anand Mahindra and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw too asked the government
not to give in to Trinamool.
The Congress, however, said that consumers in Congress-ruled
states would get three more cooking gas cylinders at subsidized
rate -- instead of the six announced last week.