‘We were second largest party but we never got the respect from UPA government’

“Sometimes, somebody has to bell the cat,” West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said on Tuesday, while announcing her party’s decision to withdraw support to the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre.

“I have seen the blackmailing politics of the Congress…I know the game of the Congress. When there are differences with Mamata, they go with Mulayam; when [there are differences] with Mulayam they then turn to Mayawati. From Nitish, they turn to Lalu and when problems emerge with the DMK, they go with the AIADMK,” she said.

“The [UPA] government may continue for three months, six months after we exit by holding the hands of other parties. But we will continue to oppose its decisions,” she said when journalists asked her here how long it would survive.

On the possibility of the Samajwadi Party filling in for the Trinamool, she said the question should be put to leaders of that party.

“Unfortunately, we were the second largest party but we never got the respect from the [UPA] government,” Ms. Banerjee said. Despite the revision of the price of petroleum products several times, her party had kept supporting the UPA government in the “larger interest.”

Ms. Banerjee said the Trinamool had wanted to remain in the UPA government but was not allowed to stay on. Explaining her party’s decision to withdraw support to it, she said every morning she woke up with a fear that the Centre would be embroiled in a fresh corruption case or that it might attempt to bring in “anti-people measures.”

Ásked about the possibility of mid-term polls, Ms. Banerjee said, “We are not responsible for mid-term polls … ask them who are making the money,”

Questioning the reforms announced by the UPA government, she asked: “What kinds of reforms are these? Into whose pockets will the money from the FDI in retail and increase in prices of diesel go?”

Had she opted only to withdraw Trinamool Ministers from the UPA government and extend support from the outside, “it would have been described as a half-hearted decision,” said Ms. Banerjee. “This is not a half-hearted decision. We are proud to take the decision.”