Mamata Banerjee takes part in a rally during a protest against price hike of Diesel and LPG in Kolkata.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today took to the streets with the warning that her party would take 'hard' decisions at the end of her 72-hour deadline set by her party if UPA government did not scrap FDI in retail, diesel price hike and limit on subsidised LPG.
"We have called a party meeting on Tuesday to discuss these issues. If the Centre does not roll back the hike in diesel price and withdraw decisions on FDI in multi-brand retail and curbs on LPG, we will take decisions, however hard they may be. I hope the people will not misunderstand," Banerjee, who hit the streets here for a second time after the May petrol price hike, told a rally.
Expressing surprise over the government's sudden big ticket reforms, Banerjee said "I don't know what happened. So many decisions were taken on a single day. We want economic reforms that reaches the grassroots, not something that benefits a section. These are anti-people decisions."
Banerjee, the West Bengal chief minister, however, said her party would not like to topple the UPA government.
"We are not in favour of quitting the government. We are always in favour of not breaking the alliance. But we are committed to the people."
Banerjee said "we are the second largest ally of UPA and we could have got more cabinet berths. We have now only the Railway ministry but that hardly matters to us. What matters to us is the people."
"We don't want FDI in retail. This was in our election manifesto. The people voted us for five years. How can we betray their trust?" Banerjee said.
These decisions, she said, "may be digestable for them, but not digestable for others. How many times will you go on hiking prices at the cost of the common people?"
Demanding the price hike of diesel should be withdrawn immediately, she said the Centre should provide two LPG cylinders with subsidy each month per family, "which means 24 LPG cylinders at subsidised rates per year."
Referring to the Centre's decision to leave it to the states to allow setting up of multi-brand retail stores, Banerjee said "is this possible? I have never heard of it."
She suggested the Centre unearth black money instead of burdening the people.
On her Facebook page, Mamata Banerjee wrote:
Yes, we need reforms. But reform does not mean to sell out everything to satisfy some sections of individuals. In a democratic set up, reforms must reach upto the poor and common people and the beauty of democracy lies on realizing its responsibility towards the common people.
Developed countries have many social security schemes. In our country, we do not have elaborate social security schemes or safety valve mechanism for protection of the interest of the common people.
A series of unilateral and anti-people decisions might help in raising Sensex points only for the time being. I agree that Sensex must be stable, but at the same time, policy and planning should not be used to impose back-breaking burden on the common people. If black money is unearthed in the country, and brought back home from abroad and are used for development purposes, then Sensex will grow in an unparalleled manner.
I do not support any decision to sell out everything. This might suit one section of the government. We are determined to fight for the cause of the common people and we can sacrifice our lives but cannot compromise on it.
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