Mamata Banerjee pulls out support from UPA, Sonia meets top leaders

New Delhi: UPA government was left reeling on Wednesday after a key ally announced it would quit the ruling coalition as part of a growing push to derail a controversial economic reform drive.

The regional Trinamool party said late Tuesday it had decided to withdraw support from the Congress-led coalition in a move analysts said heightened the prospects of early elections, not currently due until 2014.

Trinamool’s six ministers would submit their resignations on Friday and its 19 MPs would cease to offer support in parliament, the party’s firebrand leader Mamata Banerjee told reporters.

“Our ministers will go to Delhi to resign. We will not stay in UPA II,” said Banerjee after a meeting in the party’s Kolkata stronghold.

The United Progressive Alliance II coalition (UPA II) is dominated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress party, but it depends on Trinamool as its second-biggest partner for a majority in parliament.

The policy changes unveiled last week include allowing in foreign direct investment from retail giants such as Walmart and Tesco, as well foreign airlines, and a 12-percent hike in the price of subsidised diesel.

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