Roll back FDI or quit, CPM tells PM
Mamata Banerjee accused the UPA of distorting facts and spreading misinformation that they had tried to contact her.
New Delhi: 3.41 pm: CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat says Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has no right to continue in office if he does not roll back FDI in multi-brand retail.
2.40 pm: Mamata Banerjee says bandhs will not serve any purpose. "I don't believe in bandh politics," she says.
2.30 pm: Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee addresses press conference, requests the media to "stop spreading rumours". Mamata further accuses the Congress of distorting facts and adds that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh never contacted her as claimed by Congress leaders. She further says that the government must withdraw FDI in retail and further slams the government for the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders. "Who says they (the poor) can survive on six cylinders? They are dieting, not eating," she says.
1:55 pm: Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni claimed that there was no danger to the UPA government. "Congress's attempt will continue to build consensus on the decisions. There is no danger to the UPA government," she said.
1:45 pm: Sources say the Oil Ministry officials are preparing various options on amending the recent decision on fuel price hike. The options include doing away with excise hike on diesel and the option of one LPG cylinder per month. No final decision has been taken so far. However, there will be no compromise on FDI in retail.
1:30 pm: Congress leader Janardhan Dwivedi has announced that all the states ruled by Congress Chief Minister will increase the cap on subsidised LPG from six to nine cylinders.
He has also said that the Congress is looking at Mamata Banerjee's demands and has indeed sent out a message to her that party President Sonia Gandhi wants to speak to her. Even as Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy denied getting any message from the government, Dwivedi said, "Mamata Banerjee has put some demands. We are looking at those demands. Mamata Banerjee sent a message to the Congress chief. Mukul Roy has been given a message that Sonia Gandhi wants to speak to her. The Prime Minister's Office also sent a message. The Core group discussed this issue as well. P Chidambaram will speak to the media."
12:45 pm: Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy said that there will be no turning back and the decision to resign on Friday has been taken as ministers have to personally submit their resignations and not because there may be some scope for a negotiation.
"All this is media's imagination. The media should understand that a resignation can only be submitted personally, we will submit our resignation to the Prime Minister only. Our stand is clear, we are opposing FDI and price rise," Roy said.
12:30 pm: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani has said that his party will seek a special session on FDI in retail. He also said that the UPA government will not last till 2014.
However, its ally JD(U) has said there is no need for a special session. "There is no need for a special session, that will not help," JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav said.
12:20 pm: Trinamool Congress leader Mukul roy has denied getting any message from the government.
"Mamata made the stand of the TMC very clear. There is no scope for anything else. It has been decided by the party that the resignations will be given on Friday," Mukul Roy said.
12:14 pm Sources in the government have made it clear that there will be no rollback in FDI whatsoever. "Where does the question of a rollback stands," Congress sources said.
12:10 pm: After the Congress's Core Committee meeting on Wednesday, sources said that the government got in touch with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and left a message. Sources say Mukul Roy has confirmed that Mamata has got the message.
Source say that the government will explain the TMC ministers the circumstances in which the diesel price hike decision and the LPG cap decision was taken.
However, sources have not ruled out the possibility of a partial rollback in the diesel price hike.
Sonia Gandhi came out and made a thumbs up gesture before the media, in a way, indicating that all was well.
11:55 am: The Congress Core Committee meeting has ended. Sources say diesel price hike rollback and cap on subsidised LPG was also discussed in the meeting.
Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress ministers Sougata Roy and Sultan Ahmed will reach Delhi on Wednesday.
11:50 am: Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh has said that the party is ready for mid-term polls.
11:05 am: The NCP has said that Mamata should not have withdrawn from the government. "This is unfortunate, she should not have taken this step, this will help BJP and communal forces. We hope by Friday she realises this and takes back her decision. Supporting parties are with the government because we know that withdrawing support will not help them, it will help communal forces. Diesel price was hiked to control the fiscal deficit. The NCP is supporting FDI, it will help farmers," NCP leader Tariq Anwar said.
10:45 am A rollback in the diesel price hike was being discussed at the Congress Core Committee meeting, according to sources. Sources say a roll back in the cap on subsidised LPG is also being discussed.
10:40 am: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has said that the Congress needs to be more flexible. "The government should get wise, what have they given to people of the country? We will discuss our strategy in the Parliamentary board meeting. The government's stubborn behaviour will do it no good," he said.
10:27 am: Congress leader Jagdambika Pal said that the party still considers Trinamool Congress an ally.
10:25 am: Trinamool Congress leader Kunal Ghosh hasemanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation. "Before accepting the resignation of TMC ministers, PM should step down and go for a fresh mandate whether country is permitting his policies or not," he tweeted.
10:00 am: The Congress Core Committee meeting has begun at 7 RCR.
9:45 am: Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ahead of the Congress Core Group Meeting set to begin at 10 am.
Sources say UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is likely to call Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee from the meet with an offer.
9:30 am: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati is most likely to come to the UPA's rescue after Trinamool Congress.
Sources close to Mayawati say that she is clear that she wants no elections at this stage. "We will wait to see what offer comes from UPA," sources say.
Mamata announced her decision to withdraw from the government after a three-hour long marathon meeting and it was a decision which was in the pipeline for the better part of the past one year.
Announcing her decision to withdraw, Mamata accused the UPA of "insulting" the Trinamool Congress. "We were insulted. We were never called by the Congress as allies," she said.
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