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Mamata pulls out of anti-poor UPA

After a meeting that lasted for more than two-and-a-half hours, the West Bengal chief minister and chairperson of the Trinamool Congress Mamata Banerjee announced the withdrawal of her party from the United Progressive Alliance [UPA] government on Tuesday for the alliance turning aggressively anti-poor. Incidentally, the Trinamool member who opposed the Congress-led UPA's economic policies the most is Dinesh Trivedi, who was earlier seen to be agreeing with the pro-industry policies of the Congress.

Banerjee announced that the six Trinamool ministers will tender their resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday at 3 pm.

A visibly angry Banerjee – who convened a meeting of the parliamentary wing of her party before announcing her decision – said that she was forced to take the decision because of the anti-people policies of the UPA government at the centre. She named the recent harsh decisions of the government – hike in fuel prices, and allowing FDI in retail – as the triggers for her decision. 'The government is bringing in FDI in retail in order to divert the public’s attention from the coal block allocation scandal. Why can’t black money be used for development? Whose pockets are going to be filled with money from FDI when the common people are going to be hit hard by such decisions?' she accused. She said that at least 50 crore people were associated in the unorganised retail sector and they would be worst-hit by the new FDI policy.

She also cautioned the country that the UPA government would not stop at these two decision and would also hurt people by opening the pension sector.

The 72-hour deadline which Banerjee had served to the UPA government to roll-back the fuel price hike and change the decision on allowing FDI in retail ended on Tuesday. A tinge of regret did creep up in her voice when she said that there was no 'minimal' respect for her party within the UPA when it was the second largest component of it. 'There was no discussion with us at all. We had asked them to give 24 LPG cylinders per year to a family at a subsidised rate. They didn’t listen. Prices of petrol, diesel, gas, coal and fertilisers have shot up several notches. Why increase the burden on the common man?' she said, explaining her decision to quit.

She added, 'I understand the Congress game plan. They keep playing one party against the other; sometimes it is Mayawati, then it is Nitish Kumar, Laloo or the AIDMK. But, if they cannot get along with an ally like the Trinamool Congress, they can’t get along with anyone else, I’m sure,' she said, pointing a finger at the Congress’s coalition dharma.
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