Mamata Banerjee to abstain from trust vote (Lead)

July 21st, 2008 - 7:25 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

Kolkata, July 21 (IANS) Scotching all speculation, the Trinamool Congress announced Monday that it would abstain in the Lok Sabha trust vote but clarified that it did not support the India-US civil nuclear deal. Party chief Mamata Banerjee, who is the only representative of her party in the Lok Sabha, said: “We have a policy of maintaining equidistance from the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as also from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). We can vote neither in favour of the Congress, nor CPI-M, nor BJP. I will not go to Delhi.”

Addressing a public rally here, she added categorically: “We do not support the nuclear deal. We are in favour of nuclear energy but we are opposed to the way the government is trying to sell India’s interest.”

Attacking the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, she said it should have taken the people into confidence before deciding to proceed with the deal — differences over which led to the Left parties withdrawing their support and reducing the Manmohan Singh government to a minority.

“But they did not do so,” she said.

Banerjee expressed her anguish at the “horse-trading” now on to secure the vote of MPs ahead of Tuesday’s trust vote in the Lok Sabha.

“We are opposed to these immoral activities. You cannot purchase the Trinamool Congress with money,” Banerjee said to thunderous applause from her party supporters.

The Trinamool Congress president said there was a lot of curiosity to know her party’s stand in the trust vote.

“We have discussed the issue threadbare in our party and then arrived at our decision,” she said.

Criticising the UPA and the Left for their preoccupation with the deal at a time when the prices of essential commodities had skyrocketed, Banerjee said: “Neither the centre nor the West Bengal government are bothered about the suffering of the people. But we are bothered.”

“If people are with you, you don’t have to go to Delhi but Delhi will come to you.”

The UPA government has sought a trust vote in the Lok Sabha, which began a two-day special session Monday. The house will vote Tuesday night on the motion.

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