Mamata says will act if govt doesn’t agree to debt relief
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After meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to reiterate her demand for a three-year moratorium on her state's loan burden, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday gave a veiled warning to the Centre, saying if it did not offer a solution to the problem, she would do "whatever is to be done politically".
"I have met the PM 10 times and the Finance Minister 20 times. We have given enough evidence (about the state's poor financial health). We are waiting for the past 11 months, so for people's sake, we are willing to wait a few more days. If they (Centre) bring out a solution that's fine, or else whatever is to be done politically, we will do sitting in Bengal itself," she said.
Sources said the Trinamool Congress chief did not get any concrete promise from the PM regarding her demand, although Mamata told the PM that Punjab was allowed a similar moratorium between 2000 and 2006.
The Chief Minister emphasised that she would not settle for any "half-hearted effort" to address the problem. A panel led by Union Expenditure Secretary Sumit Basu is currently examining ways to bring out a plan to give some relief to the debt-trapped states of West Bengal, Kerala and Punjab, but there is said to be no work on any moratorium.
On the problem in granting the moratorium, Mamata said, "What is digestable to me is not digestable to the Finance Minister. The food which is digestable to my people is digestable to me. Whatever will be done, I will wait for few days." Later in the evening, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma met her although it was not clear if they discussed the debt issue.
Trinamool sources said the fate of their demand would have a direct bearing on the party's stance in the presidential election.
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