New Delhi: Mamata Banerjee may have blasted the Congress and the government but the ruling party has chosen not to launch a counter-attack on the Trinamool Congress after it decided to withdraw support from UPA.

Immediately after Banerjee had announced the decision of withdrawing support from the alliance last evening, AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said Congress still considers Banerjee a "valued colleague", a refrain that continued even on Wednesday.

This is part of a well-crafted strategy of the Congress, which was endoresed by party chief Sonia Gandhi as well the Core Group meeting presided by her with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by her side, sources said.

Notably, the AICC on Wednesday cancelled at the last minute a media briefing scheduled in the afternoon. Dwivedi merely said that attempts to contact Banerjee have not succeeded.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram made a statement in the evening reiterating Government's position on the issue.

The ruling party feels that it should refrain from attacking Mamata, even if there is no agreement with her party on these issues which are related with public sentiments, they said.

The party is of the view that the parting, if it is inevitable, should be as dignified as can be at least from the Congress side and it will suffice to say that the two sides could not agree on a particular policy, the sources said, adding the Congress President is not to be in favour of a war of words with TMC.

"No personal attack and no roll back" seems to be the catchline of Congress on the issue.

After a meeting of Group of Ministers on media, Chidambaram told reporters, "I don't know why you guys are hung up on that one word rollback. These issues (decisions) were taken after the most careful consideration. They stand."

The view formulated in the Core Group was that there was "no going back" on the decisions including FDI in multi-brand retail, diesel hike and cap on the subsidised cylinders though some minor adjustments could be made.

Defence Minister A K Antony, Chidambaram and Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel attended the meeting along with Gandhi and Singh.

Gandhi is learnt to be in favour of the party showing its concern with 'aam admi' especially in the Congress-ruled states. Soon after the Core Group meeting, a decision was taken that the Congress governments in states will increase the number of subsidized cylinders per household annually from six to nine.

In the AICC also, there were indications that while minor adjustments on diesel hike and the LPG cap were not an anathema, there is going to be no compromise on the issue of FDI in retail.

There is a feeling in the party that if it goes overboard in order to woo Mamata and shows signs of backing out, it will send a very wrong signal for the economy.

A party functionary said that Congress would prefer a snap poll to going back on the decisions but at the same time added such an eventuality will not come as most of parties do not want a mid-term election.

"If the SP goes against us, the BSP will literally cling to us, as it knows about doing business with both the Congress and the BJP even after dubbing them as 'Nagnath' and 'Saanpnath'," was the cryptic comment of a senior leader from Uttar Pradesh.

Another leader felt that the options of the SP were limited as they cannot be seen siding with the BJP by opposing the Congress staunchly.

He at the same time felt that the SP was a slippery customer which will extract "its pound of flesh" for the support.


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