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Mamata gambles as NDA waits Didi reaches out to Left

Calcutta, Nov. 20: Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that she could go to the CPM state headquarters at Alimuddin Street here and speak to its leadership, if necessary, to woo her party’s arch rival for the no-confidence motion she is trying to move against the Centre in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament.

The BJP-led NDA today decided to bring a motion that entails voting against the decision on FDI in retail but kept open its options on a no-confidence motion.

“The NDA will move a resolution under voting provisions seeking disapproval of the government’s decision (to permit FDI in multi-brand retail) and urging the government to withdraw the decision,” said a statement of the BJP-led Opposition grouping after a 90-minute meeting in Delhi.

“The NDA would consult all political parties to explore the possibility of a no-confidence motion against the government,” the statement added.

In Calcutta, Mamata said: “My appeal to the CPM is to not do anything to bail out this minority government, steeped in corruption and taking numerous anti-people decisions,” she said on her way out of the secretariat this afternoon.

Responding to a question on whether she would speak to the CPM leadership on the matter, Mamata said: “You tell Biman Bose (CPM state secretary), if the party has reservations about our party bringing the motion, let the CPM bring it. We will support.... I could go to Alimuddin Street and talk.”

Reacting, Bose said: “She is welcome at Alimuddin Street. We can always discuss different issues. But we won’t support the no-trust motion. We know that the UPA II government cannot be dislodged. So, what purpose will the motion serve?”

Later, in a Facebook post, Mamata wrote: “If they (the CPM) have any problem to support the no-confidence motion moved by the Trinamul Congress, they may move such motion themselves. But I want to be assured that the no-confidence motion is tabled for voting. I will have no hesitation in voting for the no-confidence motion moved by them.”

Her offer of support to such a motion, if brought by the Left parties, was not unconditional.

“We will support it only if there is assurance that they will not withdraw it midway after striking a deal with the Congress. If the issue is same, we have no objection to support their motion,” Mamata said.

Mamata said she was willing to talk to other political parties, including BJP, over issues like FDI in retail trade, which involve “saving the country”.

“It is of no use, playing the BJP card at a time when this government is mired in corruption and loot. If anyone wants to talk, they can talk. The BJP is a political party whose ideology we do not support. Every party has its own ideology. We have our ideology too, but this is not a religious issue. This is an issue which involves saving the country,” said Mamata.

Referring to her conversation with CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta, Mamata said: “If Gurudas da’s party brings a no-trust motion, we are ready to support…I have requested him to take up the matter with the CPM.”

Dasgupta told The Telegraph: “She told me to persuade the Left parties to bring a motion or support her party’s motion. I will inform my party about that tomorrow.’’

A Trinamul leader admitted that Mamata is aware that the CPM would not agree to her proposal but said that she wants to send across the message that she is ready to walk the extra mile and rise above party politics “in order to save the country”.

“Trinamul, which once refused to attend all-party meetings called by the Left Front government, is now willing to go to the CPM’s party headquarters in Alimuddin Street in order to save the country,” the Trinamul leader said.

“The UPA II government is corrupt and implementing anti-people policies. It has to go. Our leader Mamata Banerjee has decided to rise above party politics and has said that she will support the CPM if it tables such a motion,” he added.

However, the CPM is of the view that having been unable to cobble together the numbers required to table the no-trust motion and finding herself in a spot, Mamata now wants to pass on the buck to the Left.