NEW DELHI : Mamata Banerjee’s ministers will be tendering their resignations on Friday after ‘namaz’, which still leaves a window of opportunity — 72 hours — open for reconciliation. And 72 hours is along time in politics.
Banerjee also added a caveat to her announcement: she said that if the Centre rolls back the decision on FDI in multi-brand retail, raise the cap on supply of subsidised LPG to 12 cylinders and reduces diesel price hike, then the party would reconsider the decision to withdraw support.
An indication that there is a slip between the lip and the cup came when Congress President Sonia Gandhi conveyed on Tuesday night that she would be talking with the Prime Minister about the issues that Mamata has raised.
According to sources, Sonia is likely to make an intervention — back-channel talks with the TMC have been on for the last few days — and will find a meeting ground that will provide Mamata with the face-saver that she is seeking. A possible face-saver could be a diesel price cut and an increase in cap on subsided LPG cylinders available to each household.
The Congress party even made a brief statement on Tuesday saying Banerjee continued to be a valuable ally.
Party spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi said, “Despite what Mamata has said, till something finally happens, we will continue to treat her as our ally…she is still out friend.” “Whatever issues Mamata has raised, we will discuss those with the government,” Dwivedi added.
However, there are a few skeptics who feel that though Mamata has cried wolf several times in the past and she has foreclosed her options this time. So, she cannot backtrack without severely eroding her credibility. However, there are still others who feel it is all a scripted drama between the TMC and the Congress and Mamata is being given an opportunity to vent her spleen on FDI and diesel, so that she can redeem herself politically before her constituency.
Politically, a decision to break away from the UPA will have implications for Mamata in West Bengal, too, where the Congress will become a de facto opposition in the state.