5.30 pm: Lalu says government will not fall before designated date and time
Former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav has said the government is at no risk due to Mamata Banerjee withdrawing her party’s support to the UPA government.
“The election will take place on the designated date and not earlier,” he told Times Now.
The RJD party chief, who is also a UPA ally, said it was not surprising that Banerjee had withdrawn support to the UPA government.
“It seems she has given time to the Congress government to negotiate with them…I think she will consider. I know the mind of Mamata Banerjee, she always gets angry and is in the mood of fight over issues like price hike in diesel,” he said
3.30 pm: Left parties say all economic decisions should be rolled back
Prakash Karat of the CPM said that after the Politburo meeting today the Left front had decided that they wanted the government to withdraw all the recent economic decisions it had taken, especially given that most political parties were opposed to them.
“FDI in multi-brand retail is opposed by the majority in the Parliament, therefore, the government should not go ahead with this,” Karat said.
He also accused the Finance Minister of attempting to sell off stakes in profitable Public Sector Units.
The government did not have the mandate of Parliament to take these decisions, and the party would intensify its protest against FDI in retail and other anti-people measures, the CPM leader said.
Karat appealed to all political parties to join them in their protests.
“If the Manmohan Singh government does not roll back these measures then it has no right to continue in power,” he said.
The party will decide after the bandh tomorrow what steps can be taken against the government.
3:00 pm: Mamata says Congress has never consulted with her
Mamata Banerjee after Facebook did what she did best and addressed the media in which she roundly criticised the government for its claims that it had attempted to reach out to her and for its decisions to raise prices.
The West Bengal Chief Minister said that the Congress government was attempting to misinform people by claiming that they had attempted to get in touch with her.
She also got Mukul Roy to affirm that he had never received a message from the government, and then she took over.
Accusing the Congress leaders of attempting to create an environment of disinformation, the TMC leader said, “If they were so interested in talking about FDI why did they wait so long? Why didn’t they also tell the media? Misinformation!”
“You may control the media but you do not control us,” Banerjee said. Felt like something out of Braveheart.
She said that the people knew her credentials and would back her in her decision to withdraw support from the government.
“The people know our credentials. Our life is a life of struggle,” she said.
She also said the decision by the government to put a cap on subsidised LPG cylinders and said that people would not be able eat due to this decision.
The TMC chief also accused the Congress of creating a co-ordination committee that was ineffective in addressing the concerns of alliance partners.
“Co-ordination has become ordination, I don’t know. They have taken all the decisions despite the fact that the Congress is not the majority government. They have taken the decisions unilaterally,” she said.
She also said there was no question of accepting the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail.
“We will NOT accept FDI. They will have to pass the bill in Parliament. They cannot implement a law by force,”the Chief Minister said.
The economic decisions taken by the UPA would hit the common man the most, something she would not tolerate, Banerjee said.
“I cannot compromise the issue related to common people,” she said.
“I have no existence if I cheat the people….Decision has been taken. Our Ministers will be going there and giving the resignations. Nothing more,” she said.
2:45 pm: Mamata updates her Facebook wall, pokes media
PTI reports that the West Bengal Chief Minister has taken to Facebook to air her grievances against news channels
“If I have something new to say, then I will let you know directly. I will reiterate that we have taken a decision, which is ‘of the people, for the people and by the people’ – and also pro-people. We stand by it,” Banerjee said in her latest post on Facebook.
“Again a section of negligible channels is spreading misinformation and disinformation at the behest of certain vested interests,” she said.
“Always I have noticed that, whenever a strong stand is taken for the cause of the common people, such section tries to malign and create confusion. It is better not to trust such rumours, gossips and planted news,” the West Bengal Chief Minister said.
2:30 pm: BJP backs Mamata, urges all other allies to also jump ship
BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain has said that the UPA government has lost the trust of the people and should resign at the earliest.
In a rhetoric filled speech, Hussain said the BJP was awaiting the decision of the government to roll back the decisions it has taken so far.
The government had said it would take all parties into confidence before deciding on FDI in multi-brand retail which it had failed to do, the BJP leader said.
Allowing Wal Mart into India is not in the interests of the nation but in the interests of the US, he said.
The party has also come out strongly in support of Mamata Banerjee for her decision to part ways with the UPA and has said the nation’s eyes are on her to ensure she does not back down from her demand, or succumb to eyewash from the Congress.
“We are certain that Mamata Banerjee will remain unmoved in her demands and will not rest until a complete roll back,” he said.
He also said all parties that decide to back the Congress would also be perceived to be as guilty as the Congress and would receive an appropriate verdict from the people.
And yes, the party has not backed down from its plan to have a Bharat Bandh tomorrow. Hussain said he was in Hyderabad to appeal to all for the bandh to be successful.
2.10 pm: Will back any party for special status for Bihar, says Nitish Kumar
And in the mix now is Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who says he will back any party that gives Bihar special status.
2.00 pm: Chidambaram rules out any rollback of decisions
While other Congress leaders may be putting up a brave face, the Finance Minister isn’t mincing words.
“These decisions have been taken after careful considerations. They stand,” Chidambaram said.
The Finance Minister said they will try to convince the Trinamool Congress ministers the reasons for approving FDI in multi-brand retail and increasing the price of diesel.
Whether there’s any point in talking to them though is questionable, given there are no illusions about who holds the reins in the TMC.
1:50 pm: Ambika Soni says there is no danger to the UPA government, says government has the numbers
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni says that the decision to get Congress ruled governments to increase the number of subsidised LPG cylinders had been taken in the core group meeting today after party chief Sonia Gandhi consulted with the Chief Ministers of Congress ruled states.
She also refuted the claim that the government was in any danger of falling due to the Trinamool Congress leaving the alliance.
“Who says the government is in danger? I haven’t heard anyone say that. Congress has all the support it needs,” she said.
She said the party would continue to talk to all allies and political parties and would ensure there would be no effect on the government.
1.40 pm: Congress ruled states asked to increase subsidy on LPG cylinders, no concession on diesel
Congress ruled states have been asked to increase the number of subsidised LPG cylinders from 6 to 9, threreby absorbing a part of the subsidy burden. How this will help reduce the fiscal deficit in any way is a little mysterious given it is finally a subsidy in a different form.
So it will be states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram and Assam where the number of subsidised LPG cylinders allocated will be increased.
Sonia Gandhi has spoken with the Chief Ministers of various Congress ruled states…they have been asked to increase the number of subsidised LPG cylinders from six to nine,” Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi said.
However, the Congress has reportedly ruled out any possibility of reducing the hike in diesel prices.
1.07pm: Chidambaram says govt tried to reach out to Mamata
Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said that the government did try to reach out to TMC leader Mamata Banerjee on a number of occasions, and said that as far as the government understood, she had not taken any of the messages because she had been trying to make up her mind.
“We have tried to speak to her. The Prime Minister tried to speak. We left a message, but we have not heard anything”, he told reporters in Delhi.
Chidambaram’s statement comes shortly after Rail Minister Mukul Roy denied ever receiving a message to take to Mamata, while Saugata Roy said he also not aware of such a move.
12.52pm: ‘TMC did not do this for favours’
TMC MP Saugata Roy has also denied that the government has made any attempt to get in touch with the TMC leadership, and reiterated that they would not deviate from their stand.
“Our ministers will give the resignations to the Prime Minister. We have a principled stand and will not compromise on it”, he told reporters. Roy added that the party had not made its decision to “get any favours”.
He stated however that the party had no reason to ally with anyone else now.
12.26 pm: Mukul Roy says no compromise on decision to withdraw
TMC Minister Mukul Roy has said that the party will stick to its decision to withdraw support to the UPA government. He also denied receiving a message from the Congress leadership to deliver to Mamata Banerjee. ”I have not received any message from anyone regarding anything”, he said.
“We will never go beyond our election manifesto. If we compromise on it we will be cheating the people. TMC is of the people, by the people and for the people”, he added.
Roy stated that the Congress would do well to remember that they were in a coaltion and were not a majority government.
Roy added that he had no reactions to Congress meeting. “The party has taken a decision and that has been explained to people by Mamata Banerjee”, he said. However he said that they would stick to their decision to also oppose FDI in retail.
12.22pm: Brinda Karat calls on government to roll back reforms
CPM leader Brinda Karat has asked the government to roll back the reforms on FDI as well as the diesel price hike, saying that they had lost the moral right to rule unless and until the decision was rolled back.
12.08pm: Cong sends Mamata message, rollback not discussed
The government has reportedly said that it sent repeated messages to TMC leader Mamata Banerjee through Rail Minister Mukul Roy. Reports said that Roy had received the message, which had been formulated by the Prime Minister himself, and the government was trying to portray that it had made repeated attempts to get in touch with its ally. The party will now reportedly try to explain to the TMC, why they should stay with the government.
Other reports coming in from the core committee meeting indicate that the possibility of a rollback was never discussed.
12.04pm: BJP calls on SP and BSP to make its stand clear
The BJP has called on the Samajawadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party to take a clear stand on whether or not they would support the UPA government. BJP leader Rajnath Singh said Mamata Banerjee had taken a bold step by withdrawing support from the UPA, and it was now up to the SP and BSP. “ In UP, Congress, BSP and SP fight and abuse each other. How can they stay together at the Centre?”, he asked.
11.56am: Congress core committee meeting ends
The Congress core committee meeting has come to an end. The two hour meeting has just come to and end, and initial reports say that the government is confident that it is stable. Finance Minister P Chidambaram is expected to address the media shortly.
11.47am: SP and DMK in meetings: further trouble for Congress?
The Samajawadi Party’s Parliamentary board is expected to meet tomorrow to decide on whether or not to continue supporting the government. Speaking to media, SP chief Mulayam Singh said, “Aam admi is suffering due to UPA policies, SP will meet tomorrow to decide on future course of action on support to government”.
“Tomorrow there is a meeting of the Samajwadi Party’s Parliamentary Board. We will take a decision there,” he added.
The SP chief also made it clear that his party would go ahead with its plans to hold demonstrations to oppose the decisions taken by the government. “There will be opposition in Uttar Pradesh and the entire country. The demonstrations in support of people’s issue will happen,” he said. Yadav also criticised the Government, saying its policies had added to the burden of the common man.
“We want that wisdom should dawn upon the government. What have you (the government) given to the people apart from inflation and corruption. There is so much burden on the common man, so much burden on the farmers,” he added. Asked if the attitude of the central government was coming in the way of its smooth functioning, he said, “This obstinate attitude, it will only go on to weaken it. Due to this attitude, the Congress party will become very weak”
Meanwhile the DMK has indicated that it will not pull out of the UPA government, with leader Vasanthy Stanley calling on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to absorb the diesel hike instead. However the party will also meet.
11.35 am: SAD calls for special Parliamentary session
The Shiromani Akali Dal has joined a chorus of voices calling for a special session of Parliament to debate the reforms in FDI and the diesel price hike. The SAD demand comes in the wake of the BJP calling for a special session earlier this week. The party has already written to President Pranab Mukherjee in this regard.
11.15 am: NCP slams Mamata decision
The NCP has said that Mamata should not have withdrawn from the government. “This is unfortunate, she should not have taken this step, this will help BJP and communal forces. We hope by Friday she realises this and takes back her decision. Supporting parties are with the government because we know that withdrawing support will not help them, it will help communal forces. Diesel price was hiked to control the fiscal deficit. The NCP is supporting FDI, it will help farmers,” NCP leader Tariq Anwar told CNN-IBN.
11.00 am: Cong in huddle, diesel hike rollback on the cards?
A day after Trinamool Congress decided to withdraw support to UPA, the Congress top brass huddled in a meeting with party president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh deliberating over the strategy ahead.
Speculation is that the party is debating whether or not to implement a partial rollback of the diesel hike and the LPG cap in an effort to win back Mamata Banerjee.
The meeting of the Congress core group chaired by Gandhi at the Prime Minister’s residence deliberated at length on the political scenario after Mamata Banerjee’s announcement of withdrawing support to the government.
Minutes before the core group meeting began, the Prime Minister held a meeting with Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
There have been indications from the party earlier that they should be “ready to bite the bullet” as reforms are necessary at this juncture.
The Trinamool Congress yesterday decided to withdraw its ministers from the Union government and its support.
The second biggest constituent of the UPA with 19 members in Lok Sabha said the party could reconsider its stand if the government rolls back its decisions on FDI, raised the cap on subsidised LPG from six to 12 cylinders and reducing the Rs 5 diesel hike by Rs 3 or Rs 4.
“We are withdrawing our support… Our ministers will go to Delhi, meet the Prime Minister and tender their resignations at 3pm on Friday,” the TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister had said.
Immediately after the Trinamool’s announcement yesterday, Congress leader Digvijay Singh said on twitter, “FDI decision was taken in national interest fulling knowing its political fallout and I hope the government will stand firm as it did on the nuclear deal.”
If the Trinamool Congress goes ahead with its decision to withdraw support, the UPA will be reduced to 251, 21 short of the majority mark of 272 in the 545-member Lok Sabha. However, with the support of outside allies–Samajwadi Party (22), BSP (21) and some others– the government is still comfortably placed with the support of over 300 members.
With inputs from PTI