New Delhi: Mamata Banerjee finally walked the talk on Tuesday, withdrawing her support from the UPA-II government. She said her ministers will resign on Friday. Sources now say that Congress President Sonia Gandhi is likely to speak to her, albeit it could be too little, too late.
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.
While most analysts describe Mamata as mercurial, her decision of breaking off all ties with the UPA does seem to be a well thought-out one.
By demanding a rollback in hike of diesel prices and cap on LPG subsidies, Mamata wants to position herself as the voice of the poor. It's an issue where even her staunchest rivals, like the Left, have struggled not to compliment her.
However, even in this extreme decision, she has kept a window open for the Congress. Roll back price hike, do away with FDI, she will be in. Congress sources indicate that Sonia herself may now be forced to play the mediating role between Team Manmohan's vision of economics and Mamata's brand of politics, more so with several senior Congress leaders disagreeing with price hike decisions.
So could this still be Manmohan Singh's nuke deal moment, or is the UPA ship really sinking?
The answer could well lie with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP). With 21 and 22 members respectively, Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav have the numbers to keep the UPA afloat, but both will put up a high price tag for any possible support.
The road ahead will now be decided at the Congress core group meeting to be held later on Wednesday.
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