Mamata Banerjee had hinted at “tough decisions” following Centre’s reforms

The Trinamool Congress leadership is keeping its cards close to its chest in the face of speculation over its future in the United Progressive Alliance government following the party’s opposition to the series of reform measures announced recently by the Centre.

A senior party leader on Sunday dismissed, as “baseless,” reports appearing in a section of the media on the possible outcomes of the crucial meeting of the Trinamool Congress Parliamentary Party here on September 18, where its next course of action is to be determined.

“Some news is being spread that the Trinamool will do this or that… Some [television] channel is saying that the Trinamool will withdraw support from the government… All such speculative stories are baseless,” Kunal Ghosh, party MP and close associate of West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee, told a private television channel.

Ms. Banerjee has said that “hard decisions” will have to be taken unless the Centre rolled back before Tuesday its recent decisions to hike diesel prices, limit the supply of subsidised cooking gas cylinders and allow 51per cent foreign direct investment in the multi-brand retail sector. She has, at the same time, reasserted that her party does not want the UPA government to fall.

This stand of Ms. Banerjee, who led a protest march on Saturday seeking to distance her party from what she has described as the “anti-people” decisions of the Centre, has also fuelled speculation that the Trinamool might pull out from the government and support it from outside.

Trinamool leaders have been maintaining that they were not consulted or taken into confidence by the Centre over recent decisions.

Ms. Banerjee will announce her party’s stand after Tuesday’s meeting.

Not that this will be the first time that the Trinamool leadership, peeved at a Central government decision, is calling a meeting of its parliamentary party and threatening a tough decision — interpreted in political circles as pertaining to its future in the UPA government.

Previously too, Ms. Banerjee has threatened to pull out of the government in protest against repeated fuel price hikes.