New Delhi: Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee will lead a protest rally in New Delhi against FDI in retail. This will be her first rally in the capital since exiting the UPA-II. FDI was one of the reasons for Mamata parting ways with the Congress.
All 19 TMC MPs are expected to be present at Jantar Mantar. "There is a protest rally on Monday. Only MPs are here, none from Bengal has been called in. The protest will start from around 12 noon," Mamata said on Sunday.
The Trinamool Congress is also looking at expanding its reach beyond West Bengal. "People are coming from all parts of North India to Jantar Mantar to listen to Mamata Banerjee's speech. Even while being a part of the government, we did oppose FDI in retail sector. When fuel prices were hiked we expressed our disagreement. The TMC has MLAs in Assam, Manipur and UP. It will spread its wings in other states too, very soon. It's Mamata Banerjee who has raised people's issues so powerfully," TMC leader Sultan Ahmed said.
"It is an unprecedented decision by Banerjee to hold a rally at Jantar Mantar in the national capital to press the Centre to review its decisions on FDI in retail, cap on subsidised LPG and diesel price hike," Trinamool Congress MP KD Singh said on Sunday. He said the demonstration was part of the party's resolve to show solidarity with the 'aam admi' who has been hurt the most by such decisions. "Withdrawing from the UPA was the first step. A series of protests have been planned in the coming days till the decisions are withdrawn," he said.
When asked whether Trinamool Congress would support a resolution in Parliament against FDI if it is brought by BJP, former Railway Minister Mukul Roy evaded a direct reply. "Who brings what is not the issue. The actual issue is the decision of the government which is anti-people...the then Finance Minister (Pranab Mukherjee) had assured Parliament that any decision on FDI will be taken after consulting all stakeholders and after evolving a consensus. That has not happened," he rued.
Mamata, who has always opposed reforms as anti-people says the Centre must review its decisions on FDI in multi-brand retail, the diesel price hike and the subsidy cap on LPG. In her explosive interview to CNN-IBN last week, Mamata had hit out at Congress saying it has lost the credentials to govern the country.
(With additional information from PTI)