Cabinet meeting to decide floor test date

July 11th, 2008 - 12:43 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh informing the president that he was keen to take a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha, the cabinet is meeting Friday to decide the date for convening a special session. The Cabinet Committe on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) is meeting at 12.30 p.m. in the South Block to finalise the date for the special session. Although there were indications that the Lok Sabha could be convened around July 21 or July 22, government sources said it could also be earlier.

Allies of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) are also holding a meeting to discuss the strategies ahead of an imminent trust vote. The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the apex decision making body of the ruling party, will also be meeting Friday to assess the political situation and discuss future strategy.

After his return from Japan, where he met US President George W. Bush on the sidelines of the G8 summit, Manmohan Singh met President Pratibha Patil Thursday evening and expressed the UPA government’s keenness to go for a floor test.

“The government stands by its commitment that it would face parliament before going to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) board of governors,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told IANS.

The government had committed that it would win majority in the Lok Sabha before going to the IAEA to finalise the India-specific safeguards pact.

The government has been reduced to a minority after 61 MPs of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left parties, which had been propping it up for the last four years, withdrew legislative support Wednesday.

The Left, which vehemently opposes the India-US civil nuclear deal, was protesting the government’s move to finalise the safeguards pact at the IAEA, a crucial step to take the contentious deal ahead.

The government expressed confidence that it would survive the floor test. “We have enough numbers to prove majority. We already have more than 280 members (which is eight more than the half-way mark 272 in the 545-member Lok Sabha) and we are trying to convince more members,” Ravi said.

Congress sources claimed that apart from the 236 MPs in the UPA, it will get the support of 37 Samajwadi Party members, a few independents, two of the three Janata Dal-Secular MPs and its estranged ally Telangana Rashtra Samiti’s three members.

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