West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee returned to her favourite role of agitator on Monday: at a public meeting at Jantar Mantar here, she threatened to bring a no-confidence motion in the coming winter session of Parliament against the UPA government, if the Samajwadi Party supported the move – and take her battle against the slew of economic decisions taken by the Centre to various parts of the country. Surrounded by her party MPs, she addressed a gathering of farmers largely from neighbouring Haryana, mobilised by her resourceful colleague, Rajya Sabha MP, K.D. Singh.
Seated next to Ms. Banerjee was National Democratic Alliance (NDA) chairperson Sharad Yadav: describing her as the tigress of Bengal, he said she was the true inheritor of the ideals propagated by the socialist leaders of the past, from Ram Manohar Lohia to Charan Singh. But Mr. Yadav’s fiery rhetoric against the Centre comes a day after he told journalists that the NDA had no intention of bringing a no-confidence motion against the government.
But while the principal Opposition grouping does not seem to be in a mood to try and topple the government, the Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK), a key UPA ally with 18 Lok Sabha MPs, said in Chennai that it would back any Opposition-sponsored resolution in Parliament against allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.
At a meeting of its national executive, the party while repeating that it did not wish to see any more representation from the party in the Union Council of Ministers, sought to bring pressure on the Centre to bring a review petition in the Supreme Court against the cancellation of 122 telecom licences.
To add to the UPA’s woes, two MPs of the Babulal Marandi-led Jharkand Vikas Morcha also withdrew support on Monday.
"I will form a federal front"
“The country is not run from Delhi, I will form a federal front,” Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee told a rally at Jantar Mantar here on Monday.
Stressing that she expected general elections next year, she extended an invitation to the Yadavs, Mulayam and Sharad, to join her rally against FDI in Lucknow in November 17.
This provoked the Nationalist Congress Party’s Tariq Anwar to point out that it was a matter of time before Ms. Banerjee returned to the NDA, of which the BJP is a part.
And even though the DMK has assured the government it will not withdraw support, there is no denying the discontent in its ranks visible on Monday in Chennai.
The Congress sought to counter all this, with Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit holding a counter rally in the national capital defending the government’s economic decisions, while the party’s State unit in West Bengal held a similar rally in Kolkata, taking advantage of Ms. Banerjee’s absence from the city.
But the Congress is officially not attacking Ms. Banerjee: Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, “There comes a time in the life of every political party and politician when you have to evolve from an agitator to an administrator... from a street fighter to a statesman. These are personal decisions and a matter of self-introspection. We want to leave to her only this very small suggestion.”