Kolkata: As the Trinamool Congress went ahead and withdrew support to the UPA in Delhi, the repercussions were felt in West Bengal Friday, with the Congress announcing it would pull out its ministers Saturday from the 16-month old Mamata Banerjee-led government.
The knives were sharpened on both sides, as the coalition partners traded vicious charges.
In a bid to gain from the break-up with the Trinamool, the state Congress demanded at least three slots in the union council of ministers including a cabinet berth for party MPs from the state.
Launching a scathing attack on Banerjee for her “dictatorial attitude”, and claiming that the law and order situation in the state had been deteriorating, state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said his party would be “relieved” to leave the state cabinet.
At a media conference minutes after the Trinamool’s ministers put in their papers to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Bhattacharya announced the party’s decision to leave the Banerjee ministry and equated the chief minister with her Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi.
“Why will she repeat what Modi has to say about the Congress? A progressive and secular Bengal will not tolerate Modi’s words coming out of Trinamool’s mouth,” Bhattacharya said.
The Congress is set to take a decision Saturday about withdrawing support from the Banerjee government in the state.
But it would not have any impact on Banerjee’s government, as Trinamool has a comfortable majority in the 294-seat state assembly.
The Congress has 42 members, two more than the Communist Party of India- Marxist’s 40, and could stake claim for the post of leader of the opposition.
Bhattacharya said the chief minister’s opposition to FDI in retail would spell doom for the state’s economy.
“In her regime, the state is hurtling downwards, the law and order situation has steadily deteriorated, there are atrocities against women,” he said.
“We are not being allowed to hold meetings. Since we were in the ministry so long, we were putting up with it all. We cannot anymore bear the dictatorial attitude of the government. We are relieved,” he said.
Following the exit of Trinamool Congress’ union ministers from the union cabinet Friday, the Congress, tit for tat, declared that all six of its ministers – two of cabinet rank and four ministers of state – will put in their papers before Banerjee Saturday.
Meanwhile, state Congress general secretary Om Prakash Mishra wrote to the Congress high command pleading for nominating at least three ministers, from among the party members in the state.
“The question of proportionate and adequate representation from the state is engaging the attention of the people,” wrote Mishra.
Giving indications that the so long uneasy allies were fast turning bitter foes, Trinamool Congress chief whip Sovandeb Chattopadhyay said he will move a privilege motion against former Congress legislator Arunava Ghosh on charges of insulting assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee.
Ghosh, a fierce critic of Banerjee, has been a familiar face on television channels over the last few years
Miffed by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government’s decisions over hike in diesel price and foreign investment in multi-brand retail, the Trinamool Friday withdrew support to the ruling coalition at the centre.