Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee on Monday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his Parliament House office to convey her reservations over the setting up of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and on other issues.
“The meeting was good,” Ms. Banerjee told reporters after meeting the Prime Minister along with Union Ministers and her party colleagues Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Mukul Roy, who is Trinamool Congress’s nominee for the post of Railway Minister following the resignation of Dinesh Trivedi.
Her meeting with the Prime Minister comes ahead of the Trinamool Congress Parliamentary Party meeting here.
Ms. Banerjee, who forced Mr. Trivedi to quit as the Railway Minister after he proposed hike in the passenger fares in the railway budget, also described the NCTC as worse than TADA and POTA.
The West Bengal Chief Minister wanted modification in rail fares so that common people did not get affected. She has also stated that “there is no question of voting” in favour of the NCTC.
Dr. Singh has made a strong pitch for the NCTC saying it was an important step to fight against terrorism.
Replying to questions, Ms. Banerjee said that her meeting with Prime Minister was cordial but declined to divulge the issues raised by her.
Ms. Banerjee said that West Bengal has been strongly pleading with the Centre for a three-year moratorium on loan repayment as it has been caught in a difficult situation.
The problem has arisen as the Left Front, which was in power earlier, had not implemented the Fiscal Responsibility Act which her government has done, she said.
Asked whether she wanted a Coordination Committee for the UPA to thrash out issues before a decision is taken, she merely noted that the ruling alliance has completed three years without such a mechanism.
“Ask Soniaji”, she countered when queried whether there were moves to expand the UPA in the backdrop of reports that the Congress was wooing Samajwadi Party to join the government in the wake of the outcome in the recent Assembly polls.
She steered clear of questions on the issue of the next President of India including whether he could be from West Bengal. “The election of the President is still a few months away”. Pratibha Patil is retiring in July.
With Dinesh Trivedi sitting close to her as also other party MPs, Banerjee alleged that there were attempts to break him from the Trinamool Congress, which have not succeeded.
“We are disciplined and we are transparent”, she said emphasising that attempts to divide her party would not succeed.
When told that Kabir Suman has turned out to be a rebel MP, Banerjee shot back, “He is not politically minded. That is the problem with him”