UPA fate hangs on Mamata stand

 As speculation on emergence of a third front gains momentum with the recent electoral success of the Akali Dal and the Samajwadi Party, political circles are abuzz that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee can play a pivotal role in giving shape to such a possibility ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

Though Banerjee abstained from attending the swearing-in ceremonies of Parkash Singh Badal and Akhilesh Yadav in person, she has sent emmissaries to Chandigarh and Lucknow, keeping possibilities of forging an alliance with these regional parties open.

Minister of State for Tourism, Sultan Ahmed told Deccan Herald: “Mamata Banerjee is a name in national politics now. Several regional parties are extending their support on issues like NCTC (National Counter Terrorism Centre) and FDI in retail.”

Volleying questions on a possibility of splitting from the UPA, minister of state for Tourism, Sultan Ahmad told Deccan Herald: “There is no question of leaving our ally Congress, but we will demand for what is due for West Bengal. We would also protest against anything, which hurts the federal structure.”

Banerjee had dropped her plans to attend the swear-in ceremonies of Badal and Yadav after the Congress warned her not to cross the “Lakshman rekha of coalition dharma.”

“Social interactions with strangers by those in partnership is permissible but if things go beyond the normal boundaries of social courtesy, it would become immoral,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

Banerjee, in the past, had snubbed the Centre on a number of occasions, including issues like FDI in retail and the  NCTC.

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