Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress isn’t immediately leaving the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
However, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee told her party’s ministers that they should be “mentally prepared” to quit, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, junior minister for health at the Centre, said at the end of a town hall meeting in Kolkata on Monday.
Banerjee declined to answer questions from the media.
It is for the Congress party to decide whether it wants the Trinamool Congress to continue to be part of the UPA, Bandyopadhyay said, adding that his party wouldn’t “risk destabilizing the government at the Centre”.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The Trinamool Congress has five junior ministers and one cabinet minister at the Centre—it has held the rail ministry since 2009.
The party contested the last general election in 2009 as a partner of the Congress, and the combine won 25 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal. The Trinamool Congress has 19 lawmakers in the Lok Sabha and is one of the biggest allies in terms of numbers.
Lately, the Trinamool Congress has opposed all policy initiatives of the Union government while demanding financial sops for the West Bengal government. Its wish wasn’t granted by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
The relationship between the two parties soured last week over the UPA’s choice of the presidential candidate. Banerjee had rooted for former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
Though Kalam on Monday said he didn’t want to run for the President’s office anymore, Bandyopadhyay said his party still held that he was the best candidate and it wasn’t immediately giving up the fight.