Kolkata: The 19-member Trinamool Congress, which is the second largest constituent of the ruling UPA alliance after the Congress party, is holding a high-level meeting at the Town Hall in Kolkata to discuss if it should pull out of the Union government.
The first round of the meeting went on for over two hours. However, the leaders of the Trinamool Congress continued their discussion, keeping mediapersons waiting outside the Town Hall in the West Bengal capital.
The meeting has been called by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee as the 72-hour deadline set by her for the government to go for a roll back on FDI in multi-brand retail and diesel price hike has ended.
Hours before the meeting, the West Bengal Chief Minister met Union Railways Minister Mukul Roy over the issue.
It is expected that the Trinamool Congress may decide to pull her ministers out of the UPA and extend issue-based support to the alliance.
There are six ministers belonging to the Trinamool Congress in the Union Ministry. The ministers are Minister of Railways Mukul Roy (Cabinet rank), the other five are ministers of state. They are Minister of Urban Development Saugata Roy, Minister of Health and Family Welfare Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Choudhury Mohan Jatua, Minister of Tourism Sultan Ahmed and Minister of Rural Development Sisir Kumar Adhikari.
Options before Mamata Banerjee
Mamata pulls out of UPA but remains equidistant from the NDA and Samajwadi Party led possible Third Front.
If the Trinamool Congress withdraws support than the UPA's strength in Lok Sabha comes down to 254 from 273.
UPA - TMC(19) = 254
But if the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) continue to support the government in spite of TMC walking out, UPA will have a strength of 279 in the Lok Sabha.
UPA(273) - TMC(19) + BSP(21) + RJD(4) = 279
UPA could also look towards the Samajwadi Party, which has 22 MPs, for support. if the Samajwadi Party comes on board, then the UPA is assured of a very comfortable majority.
UPA(273) - TMC(19) + BSP(21) + RJD(4) + Samajwadi Party (22) = 301
Mulayam in return for his party's support wants a package for Uttar Pradesh of Rs 1 lakh crore and help in managing his Disproportionate Assets case.
On the other hand Mayawati wants help in dealing with Mulayam Singh Yadav and managing her Disproportionate Assets case.
Mamata remains in the UPA, gives the Centre an extended deadline citing reluctance to topple the government. In return the Centre will expedite processing her demand for a special package for West Bengal.
The Centre could also extend the number of subsidised LPG cylinders to 10.
Mamata pulls out her ministers, quits UPA coordination committee, but continues to provide outside support.
In such a scenario the Centre will look to Mulayam or Mayawati for bailout, and will look to complete to the rest of the tenure without Mamata.