Mamata, Karunanidhi skip dinner marking three years of UPA govt
PTI NEW DELHI TRINAMOOL Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and DMK chief M Karunanidhi were not present at the third anniversary dinner party of the United Progressive Alliance-II (UPA-II) government which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had hosted on Tuesday evening.
However, representatives of the two leaders attended.
Trinmool Congress sources said that Banerjee did not be come for the dinner as she was “busy” in Kolkata.
They said Railway Minister Mukul Roy represented the party at the dinner.
Banerjee’s absence from the dinner came at a time when she was pressing the central government hard for an interest payment moratorium for West Bengal.
She has also indicated her lack of enthusiasm for finance minister Pranab Mukherjee as a possible presidential candidate.
Banerjee recently told a TV channel that Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and former president APJ Abdul Kalam were “best suited” for the president’s post.
She added, however, that it was for Congress party to decide whom it wanted to field in the presidential election.
Karunanidhi also skipped the dinner though DMK leaders did not give a reason for absence of the octogenarian leader. DMK leader TKS Elangovan said that Karunanidhi did not go but some party MPs may attend the event.
Both Trinamool Congress and DMK are part of the UPA government at the centre.
Meanwhile, as UPA completes three years in office, the main opposition BJP on Tuesday claimed the government may fall any time as coalition partners were unhappy and were not even ready to break bread together.
During a discussion on the issue at the party’s Parliamentary Party meeting, BJP while referring to Mamata Banerjee’s refusal to attend the PM’s dinner party, said the three years of UPA regime would be written in “black letters.” “Its allies are not happy with it. A leader of the ally party does not even want to eat food together. You can imagine the state of affairs... The UPA is not even in a position of eating snacks.
“I wonder what would be the flavour of the dinner hosted to celebrate the three years of completion of government,” said BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain after the party’s meeting.
He said, “The completion of three years of UPA regime will be written in black letters.” Hussain said, “This government can anytime...(fall).
The government claims to have a total majority of 272, but the actual figure seems 227 as even its allies are not happy with it.” The party also discussed the “failures” of the present regime, he said. Party leader L K Advani patted the back of MPs for their good performance during the Budget Session of Parliament, he said.
“The party has been able to put the government on the backfoot on many occasions during the current session,” said Hussain.
Meanwhile, releasing the three-year performance report of the UPA II government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said he was aware of the people’s anger and frustration over the issue of corruption and vowed exemplary punishment for the guilty. “There is public anger and frustration on the issue of corruption. The legislation is before the parliament to establish a Lokpal,” he said at his 7, Race Course official residence on the occasion of the third anniversary of the UPA-II government.
“We are trying to ensure exemplary punishment for the guilty,” he said, while stressing that in the process the government would also ensure that the public servants can take bold decisions without fear.
He highlighted achievements in economic and social sectors, stressing that India’s economy grew 7 percent growth enabling resources to be ploughed into reducing poverty.
“Despite an adverse international environment, the Indian economy has grown by 7 percent in 2011-12 which is among the highest in the world,” Singh said. Sustained high rates of growth had helped the government to pursue an inclusive growth and equity, he said. Poverty has fallen considerably, he added.