West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has put the Centre on notice again, this time on fiscal sops for her debt-burdened state. The Trinamool Congress chief on Saturday gave the UPA 15 days to announce a moratorium on repayment of loans her government has inherited from the Left Front regime. Though the CM didn’t specify what the consequences would be if her “genuine demand” went unheeded, she said her patience was wearing thin by the repeated assurances not being translated into action.
Accusing the media of not highlighting her good work, Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said her government would launch a TV channel and a newspaper. Her fresh salvo comes days after she had thanked the Planning Commission for hiking Bengal’s Plan size by 16%. Besides, the Trinamool chief is eyeing to leverage her numbers in the Lok Sabha ahead of the voting on the Finance Bill on May 7 as well as in the presidential polls.
Banerjee has consistently raised the state’s poor fiscal health since coming to power, citing that she had inherited an empty coffer from the Left Front.However,the Centre has been lukewarm to her rants so far. Other states, particularly Punjab and Kerala, are also facing similar financial stress and any relief to Bengal may spark similar demands from elsewhere. With the Centre’s own fiscal position hardly comfortable, it would like to avoid taking fresh burden.