Mamata's huff may cost WB package

PM says TMC withdrawal doesnt threaten govt
Last Updated 22 September 2012, 19:35 IST

Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee is being seen as a loser both politically and financially following her party’s withdrawal from the UPA government at the Centre.

Her withdrawal will lead to the Centre denying financial package to Bengal and politically she loses her bargaining power.

Nor would there be half a dozen ministers, especially one holding railways portfolios, to bring goodies to the eastern state. The pressure that Mamata mounted on the Centre will no longer be exist and the Congress-led government will breathe easy.

Mamata had stalled several bills and programmes, such as the land bill, the pension and insurance bills etc. Now, she will have no control over them. In all, it may be a lose-lose game for the fiery Bengal leader.

While she may lose politically at the national level, in West Bengal, she has strongly sought to protect her carefully  cultivated constituency.

She has ensured that she did not give up the anti-Left space by opposing reforms moves. She will go all out to further increase the grip on this constituency since she won’t have the support of the Congress in West Bengal, estimated to be about 10 per cent votes.

As for national politics, Mamata may weigh her options for some time as she is now part of the non-UPA, non-NDA space. She may attempt to form a group of the like-minded parties such as the Biju Janata Dal. This group may become crucial in the post-Lok Sabha election scenario. Till then, Mamata will have to bide her time. There is a possibility that she may try to bring together anti-FDI parties to vote against the government.

With Trinamool ministers gone, the representation to Congress MPs from Bengal in the Union government may increase.  With Pranab Mukherjee no longer there after his elevation as the President and resignation of TMC ministers, there is no representation of West Bengal at the Centre right now.

So the Congress in West Bengal can look for more of its leaders in the Union Cabinet soon as the reshuffle is likely next week.

While the Congress could be a loser in the state, there is a consolation prize. Being the second largest party in the Assembly, the party will wrest the Leader of the Opposition post from the CPI(M)!

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday called on President Pranab Mukherjee and briefed him over the current political situation following the withdrawal of support of the Trinamool Congress from the UPA government.

The meeting comes a day after the TMC withdrew support to the UPA and pulled out its six ministers from the Union ministry.

(Published 22 September 2012, 19:35 IST)

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