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Mamata Belled the Cat
|by Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee|
What Bengal thinks today , India thinks tomorrow. Mamata Banerjee , the Bengal Chief Minister is the first to come out of the UPA and she announced that Trinamool Congress would pull out of the UPA government with her ministers set to submit resignation to President Pranab Mukherjee on next Friday. Earlier she gave 72 hours time. This buying of time is only to provide a breather for the UPA. Whatever may happen, it is now sure that Mamata Banerjee at last took upon herself to bell the cat.
The Shiv Sena pressurized Mamata Banerjee to pull out of the government only a few days ago. The pull out may not be in conformity with the Shiv Sena call or merely to toe the BJP line of protest. Mamata herself in her party manifesto in the last Assembly election was vocal against FDI in retail and Pension Bill. She also showed her vehement opposition to Diesel price hike. She gave some conditions to reconsider her decision for rolling back. But it is not yet certain that the Centre is going to concede to her demands.
The decision to pull the plug on the UPA government was taken at a meeting attended by around 75 party functionaries, including Union ministers, ministers in the state cabinet and other prominent leaders.“Sometimes somebody has to bell the cat,” Mamata told a news conference after the meeting that lasted around three hours at the Town Hall in the heart of Calcutta. Mamata finds no use being in the centre which is only taxing the poor people. The price of petrol , diesel , fertilizers are on the rise. The Trinamool wanted 12 cylinders per family at a subsidized rate. But it was not honoured.The allies are not taken into consultation for taking all the vital decisions. This is also the complaint of Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Recently, after the petrol price hike Mamata repeatedly threatened to withdraw support but the price of petrol was partly reduced. The serious complaint made by Mamata was an echo of the BJP leaders that FDI decision was unveiled to divert attention from the coal blocks allocation controversy which keeps the UPA government under pressure.
Mamata is still in the UPA. How far is it ethical to lodge such complaint? The Congress top leaders like Janardan Pujari raised this question. The decision of Mamata to withdraw support is yet to get furious reaction from the Congress. The decision brings the UPA's effective strength in the 545-seat Lok Sabha from 273 to 254, which is slightly below the half-way mark. Some still hope that this may be resolved if the diesel prices are rolled back even partially and Mamata’s image will become bright. But at the same time there is fair chance that Mayawati with her 21 MPs may come forward to give oxygen to Congress and may usurp the place of importance as the second biggest ally in UPA. At present like Mulayam and Mamata, she too gives external support to the government.
Both Mulayam and Mayawati are also opposed to FDI in detail. Many CBI cases are against these two leaders. So there is every probability that these two parties may come closer to Congress after the resignation of TMC ministers. In that case, history may be repeated. The Himalayan blunder that CPI(M) commits by withdrawing support from the UPA I is now being done again by TMC. The government may survive and may go ahead with the reforms. Mamata joining the BJP or Mamata going on lonely fight will only meet the same fate like that of CPI(M).
For the welfare of the state, the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the Presidential election compromised with Manmohan Singh and Sonia. Now the same compromise may occur if Mamata is reluctant to join the communal BJP. Last time the SP chief Mulayam Singh betrayed her. The third front is still a myth and with CPI(M) in the new political forum, Trinamool will not be comfortable to join even that secular Front in future. One side there is the communal BJP led coalition, on the other side there is the CPI(M) backed third front. Both will make Mamata uncomfortable, at least more than that she now feels being in the UPA. So the deadline is being given, some window is still being kept open. The rift may not finally occur. Some compromise may happen. Birds of same feather flock together.
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10/03/2012 00:23 AM