TMC quits UPA

On 18/9/2012 around 8.15 p.m. Mamata Banerjee in a press conference announced withdrawal of support to UPA government. TMC will not be part of UPA. TMC ministers will submit their resignation letters to PM at 3 p.m. on Friday, 21/9/2012. She did mention the date but that was implied.

Mamata Banerjee was unhappy with diesel price rise, cap on LPG cylinders with subsidy at six per year per family, and FDI in multi-brand retail. Most people are unhappy with diesel price rise as it will lead to other price rises. Cap on LPG cylinders will not affect most families as they do not use for than six cylinders per year. FDI in multi-brand retail is beneficial to farmers while small shop owners will lose.

Mamata Banerjee had given 72 hours ultimatum to centre to rollback and the centre did not oblige. The meeting that began at 5 p.m. lasted for more than three hours, unusual for TMC. May be TMC ministers in union cabinet did not want to quit. May be some TMC MPs felt there is nothing to gain from quitting UPA. Mayawati or Mulayam will rescue UPA and TMC will be loser.

Mamata Banerjee did not send letter of withdrawal of support to President. If she had sent the letter the President would have asked the government to prove its majority in Lok Sabha. She gave almost 67 hours time to Congress to reverse decisions. The possibility of a compromise between Congress and TMC exists. Even after TMC ministers resign, talks can go on.

Mamata Banerjee said her party is the second largest in UPA. With 19 members TMC is less than one tenth of Congress which has 206 members and just one more than DMK which has 18 members. If TMC quits, BSP which has 21 members can join UPA. Mayawati can be railway minister. Portfolios held by TMC can go to BSP.

TMC does not need Congress support in West Bengal. With TMC out of UPA, Congress members will have to quit the cabinet in West Bengal and sit in opposition. Mamata Banerjee’s calculation is that central government will fall within six months. That may not happen. Congress may continue in power through various permutations and combinations. When Left Front withdrew support in 2008 Congress survived.

Congress leaders in West Bengal wanted to break the alliance with TMC long back. They were told to hold on due to reasons like budget session and presidential election. Out of UPA, TMC’s chances of power at centre are limited. It does not want to be part of NDA or any front that has Left Front in it. A front consisting TMC and remaining parties is unlikely to get power at centre.

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