Congress plays down Mamata's ultimatum

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Apr 22: Congress on Saturday, Apr 21, sought to play down West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's ultimatum to the Centre over moratorium on interest payment burden of the state saying "every Chief Minister or state has some legitimate expectations and aspirations and wants the best possible for his or her state."

"If West Bengal Chief Minister has certain issues, demands and aspiration with the central government, I am sure the government will interlocute with her and see how the development imperatives of the state can be addressed under the Constitutional framework", party spokesperson Manish Tewari said.

"Every Chief Minister or state has some legitimate expectations and aspirations and wants the best possible for his or her state", he said.

Tewari declined to accept that Banerjee's insistence is some threat saying "it is very important that in public discourse, when aspirations are articulated by individuals or states, they should not be seen from the terminology of threat."

Banerjee's demand has come at a time when government's top priority is to get the Finance Bill passed, which would complete the exercise of the passage of the Union Budget 2012-2013.

Passage of any cut motion to the demands for grants is considered the defeat of the government. For the passage of the budget, all grants have to be passed.

Tewari virtually blamed the media for seeing Banerjee's demand as threat saying "it may make catchy headlines but there is a certain sense of responsibility which all stakeholders in public discourse should exercise."

Noting that the central government will have a "constructive approach" towards such demands, Tewari said" If any Chief Minister has aspirations, which are legitimate and will really benefit people, I am sure the Centre will leave no stone unturned so that its development imperatives are met and will do all that can legitimately be done".

He, however, declined to answer why the government did not decide on the special package demand of Banerjee in the last one year saying this can be explained only by someone privy to the negotiations.

Tewari pointed out that some other stats have also been making such demands to cater to their development aspirations and insisted that such aspirations by any one should not be construed as threats.

A senior Congress leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the government will walk the extra mile to address the concerns of allies and the effort will be to ensure that the boat is not rocked before time and the UPA completes its term.

Asked whether Banerjee's demand would be considered, the leader said "something will obviously be done" but indicated that it could take more than 15 days, her ultimatum period.


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