Trinamool to stay in UPA as long as it gets respect: Mamata Banerjee

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In a strong message to the Congress, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said her party will remain in the UPA as long as it received respect, but will go it alone in West Bengal where Congress is an ally.

"We don't want to survive on anyone's mercy. In Delhi we are part of the alliance and will remain so as long as we are given respect. But in Bengal, we will do it alone," she told a massive gathering at the party's annual martyr's day rally here.

Raising the pitch again for a three-year moratorium on interest payments, the West Bengal chief minister said her government would wait for some time for the Centre to respond to the state's demand.

"We will wait patiently for some time for the Centre's response to our demand. We will not pay any interest," she said.

"While our earnings are Rs 22,000 crore, we have to shell out Rs 25,000 crore as interest payments which is a legacy of the previous Left Front government's reckless governance," she said.

"We will ask the Prime Minister why the former LF government was allowed to borrow such a huge amount leading to a massive debt of Rs 2.03 lakh crore," she said. She said if it was not forthcoming, then all MPs and MLAs of Trinamool along with the legislators of GJM would march to Delhi to meet the Prime Minister for fulfilment of the demands.

"If needed, we will give a call for Delhi chalo. If the state is deprived, then Bengal has the courage to realise its dues. We are not seeking alms or a special package," she said.

In an obvious reference to a section of Congress leaders, she said that her party wanted the Congress to stay in the government here, but would not tolerate any "slander by a section of them in league with the CPI-M".

She also announced that the panchayat elections in the state would be held after the pujas.

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