Congress in talks with Trinamool as deadline ends
New Delhi: As Trinamool Congress’s 72-hour deadline for rollback diesel price hike, LPG subsidy cap and FDI in multi-brand retail expired on Monday, Congress was holding negotiations with that party and expressed the confidence of continuing a “working relationship.”
Party chief Sonia Gandhi held consultations with senior leaders, including ministers, at her residence to decide the strategy ahead even as there was no sign of worry in the AICC over fresh pressure mounted by Mamata Banerjee.
With Ms. Banerjee set to have a meeting with her party leaders in Kolkata on Tuesday, Ms. Gandhi had a strategy session with Union Ministers A.K. Antony, P. Chidambaram, Sushilkumar Shinde, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Vayalar Ravi and her Political Secretary Ahmed Patel.
“Negotiations are going on…we do believe that we will be able to have a working relationship. We remain optimistic,” party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary told reporters at the AICC briefing.
Asked whether Congress is confident that all its allies, including Trinamool Congress, will remain in UPA government in future as well, she said “we will always be hopeful of all our allies’ continuance. Our doors are never closed for dialogue.”
Ms. Chowdhary at the same made it clear that this cannot be a one-way understanding saying “while we understand their limitations and compulsions, they should also understand our limitations and compulsions.”
Sidestepping questions on whether there could be a partial roll back of diesel prices and modifications in the LPG cap, she said there was no compromise on the principles to take the country ahead.
“I am not government. We have not said that there is no compromise. What I have said is that there is no compromise on our principles to serve the nation. On this, we will sacrifice our head but not bend,” she said refusing to go into the specifics of what is being negotiated with TMC.
Her comments came close on the heels of Trinamool Congress listing three options before it including withdrawal of support to UPA, pullout of ministers from government and ministers not attending office.