Government can survive with timely letters of support: experts (Lead)

July 3rd, 2008 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

By Manish Chand
New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) The Indian government can survive without facing a trust vote in parliament even if the Left withdraws support, provided other political parties submit their letters of support to the president on time, say constitution experts. “If the Left pulls out, it’s open to the president to call upon the government to prove its majority (in the Lok Sabha),” former law minister Shanti Bhushan told IANS.

“But if the Samajwadi Party (39 MPs) and other parties with requisite numbers in parliament announce their support for the Congress-led government and send letters pledging support to the president, then the president will not ask the government to prove its majority on the floor of the house,” said Bhushan, an acknowledged constitutional expert.

“In that case, the government will not be reduced to a minority and continue as before, with new allies backing them,” he said.

Another constitutional expert who did wish to be named added: “Even if the government gets issue-based support with parties supporting it from outside, a minority government is entitled to continue until it needs to get a bill of some consequence passed in parliament.

“If that bill fails to sail through, that will be tantamount to a vote of no-confidence in parliament,” he added.

However, if the no-confidence vote is brought in parliament and it succeeds, the government will resign.

“In that case, the president has two choices: either he can ask an alternative political formation staking claim to form the government to prove it enjoys the confidence of the house or dissolve parliament and call for fresh elections,” the expert explained.

The Election Commission will decide the timing of the elections.

With a likely deal between the Congress and Samajwadi Party being worked out currently, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which has 219 MPs, will add another 39 MPs, taking its strength to 258.

The UPA will need the support of 14 more MPs to take it to 272 to ensure the government enjoys majority support in the Lok Sabha.

The Rashtriya Lok Dal with three MPs has also pledged support to the government. If smaller political parties like Trinamool Congress, the Janata Dal-Secular, Panthers Party and the People’s Democratic Party support the UPA government after the Left pulls the plug, the government may still not be out of danger.

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