UPA govt won't last another 6 months, says Mamata

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Kolkata, Oct 15: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said that the UPA government at the Centre will not survive more than six months in office and wanted her party to form the nucleus of an anti-Congress front, which she thought would destroy the Congress in the next Lok Sabha polls.

Banerjee, during an interview to Ei Samay, a Bengali daily launched by The Times of India on Monday, said nothing could dissuade her from taking a strong anti-Congress stand, not even the 'unnecessary tension' over the railway projects pending in her state. The TMC chief said her aim was to install a non-Congress, non-BJP government at the Centre.

The mercurial leader, who took over as the CM of Bengal after routing the Left Front in last year's assembly polls, called the Congress a pocha shamuk (a rotten snail) and said if one would only hurt himself/herself for keeping a decaying object like a rotten snail. She also called the Congress-led government a 'brain-dead patient' and said such patient could only be kept on a ventilator.

"Everyone knows the patient has died but no one wants to pull the plug despite knowing that it has to be done sometime," Banerjee said, explaining why she had made the first move towards 'belling the cat'. It can be mentioned here that Mamata pulled out of the UPA government in September, reducing it into a working minority. She said taking a lead was always a political tradition of Bengal.

Did the recent policy changes of the Congress-led government influenced her more? To this, Banerjee said they had no other option but to pull out for the policy changes would spell disaster for the retailers and pension and insurance sectors by putting them at the mercy of the market's whims.

Banerjee was also little worried about the fate of the pending railway projects in West Bengal. She said the Planning Commission had already approved plans for 16 railway factories that she had proposed during her stint as the railway minister and funds had already been sanctioned. Besides, she was confident that the Congress would remain in power for long and hence there was no question of it scrapping those projects.

The TMC supremo also ruled out compromise with the land-for-industry debate. She said she would not change her stance just for the benefit of a few people and stick to her party's pre-poll manifesto. She made it clear that to remain a pro-poor person was much more important to her than being pro-industry.

Mamata also spoke about her inheritance of loss, i.e., the Bengal she took over as the CM after 34 years of Left rule. She said her inheritance meant lack of democracy, marginalisation of the minorities and slide in industry and agriculture and added that it would take time for a crematorium to be turned into a garden.

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