Congress-Mamata negotiations on

With Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee sticking to her aggressive stance, the government has reportedly initiated back-channel talks to pacify her. Ms Banerjee has threatened “drastic measures” if the Centre fails to reverse the hike in diesel prices and doesn’t raise the number of subsidised LPG cylinders.

The 72-hour deadline set by the Trinamul chief to roll back these steps, as well as FDI in multi-brand retail, ended Monday. The TMC is expected to take a final decision at its parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday.
Sources said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh might speak to Ms Banerjee in this regard. Congress president Sonia Gandhi met top party colleagues on Monday to discuss the scenario. Congress leaders said they were “optimistic” of a solution emerging. I&B minister Ambika Sonia said “negotiations were on”, and claimed Trinamul “will not do anything to jeopardise the UPA’s stability”.
If there is a positive signal from Trinamul, the government may look at the option of raising the number of subsidised LPG cylinders from six to 10.

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