New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi finally stepped into the ongoing tussle between the Centre and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the economic reforms introduced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to bring the economy back on track.
Mamata's 72-hour deadline for the rollback of reforms that included 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, hike in diesel prices and a cap on subsidised LPG cylinders, ends on Tuesday evening. Mamata not only wants the Rs 5 hike in diesel price to be withdrawn and the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders to go, she has also made it clear that FDI in multi-brand retail should not be allowed.
Mamata said she will take a decision on the issue at 5 pm in the evening.
Sonia Gandhi is expected to meet Manmohan Singh shortly to discuss his impending talk with the West Bengal Chief Minister. Sources say this will be the UPA's last attempt to win the key ally into confidence over the reforms.
Here's how the numbers game plays out in Parliament
The UPA's strength is currently 273 in the Lok Sabha, that's just 2 seats above the half-way mark. If the TMC withdraws its 19 MPs, that number will plummet to 254 putting the government in jeopardy. But the support of the BSP and RJD could save the government.
The support of the Samajwadi Party with its 22 MPs is uncertain at this point.