In scathing remarks that pushed the two sides further apart, Banerjee said that the Centre had not kept her or her party informed about its reform measures announced last week as Finance Minister P Chidambaram was quoted as saying Wednesday.
Banerjee’s comments came within an hour of TV quoting Chidambaram as saying that a message had been sent to Trinamool and that UPA managers were in touch with TMC leaders over the reform announcements.
“No communication has come from the Centre. They are misinforming, disinforming and confusing the people,” Banerjee told a press conference at Writers’ Buildings. She then asked TMC general secretary and Railway Minister Mukul Roy to tell people if he had received any communication. “On these issues, I have received no response from the Centre,” Roy said.
“I came to know from news channels that some messages were sent to us through Mukul. This is total misinformation, disinformation and confusion. They are distorting the fact. I would request them not to do so,” Banerjee said. She also asked why Congress leaders had not spoken to the media before taking a final call on raising diesel prices and allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.
“Why are they speaking to the press now? Now they are coming up with concocted and distorted information. They should remember that I don’t succumb to dhamki (threats) and hoomki (intimidation). They may control some news channels but not us,” Banerjee said. The TMC would not budge from its stance on “anti-people issues” such as raising fuel prices and allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.
“When Pranab Mukherjee was finance minister, there was a commitment in Parliament that decision on FDI in retail would not be taken without a political consensus,” Banerjee said, referring to the aborted move last year to allow FDI in multi-brand retail.
“Even a Congress minister in the union cabinet, Jyotiraditya Scindia, spoke against FDI. A coordination committee was set up to discuss all the important decisions. But where is `ordination’ in the coordination committee? I cannot understand what prompted the Centre to take a final decision on FDI,” Banerjee said.
Her party’s stand on the issue had been communicated to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi five days earlier, Banerjee said, adding that her party enjoyed high credibility among people because of its “transparency”.
The Trinamool chief also took a dig at the Congress for “marketing an idea of reducing state tax on diesel”. “It is being said that some Congress-ruled states are going to offer LPG cylinders at subsidized rate. I can give 100 percent subsidy, but the Centre has to give 50 percent of the total tax it collects from my state. We get 2-3 percent of total tax collection from West Bengal. Our financial condition is not like other states. There is a Rs 2.5 lakh crore debt burden on us,” she said.
The government’s decision to limit the number of subsidized LPG cylinders to six per year per subscriber was wrong and the TMC wants this to be raised to 24 cylinders, Banerjee said. “If we are to believe that such an idea is true then we also have to believe that those managing with six cylinders are either eating nothing or practicing dieting,” Banerjee said.
She also questioned the Centre’s explanation that states had the option of not allowing FDI in multi-brand retail. “What option they are talking about? There cannot be any discrimination because there is no provision of it in the Constitution,” she said.
I am not far away from BPL, but keep the nations goal (and, the vision) on top and, first; I strongly suggest NOT to reverse the bold decision taken; MMS as FM had famously said ".... "dekhatey hai dum baajuye katil..". Lets Do It. Remember, the history will not forgive the weak.
Maybe she has been slighted because she was not informed in advance. But that maybe because no one is authorised to talk to anyone other than herself though they are in the Govt. Her demand of 24 cylinders per household is not based on actual consumption pattern. If someone consumes 24 cylinders a month, they cant be classified as "poor" under her own definition. Similarly, what is wrong if the Govt reduces the excise duty and reduces the increase on diesel? States are distributed share of taqxes on the basis of a finance Commission and not on the Govt's wishes. If the taxes paid in her State is so low because of low investments in her State. the fault is not with the Centre. Her debt left by the previous Govts cannot be wiped away by her policies. No one wants to invest in her State, all services are heavily subsidised and the revenue earned is a not ADEQUATE.Has her party have any plan to improve investments in her State and increase revenue? What her plans for her State?