Government woos Ajit Singh, renames Lucknow airport (Lead)

July 17th, 2008 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) The government’s decision to rename the Amausi airport in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow after former prime minister Charan Singh is widely perceived as an attempt to win the support of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh ahead of the trust vote in parliament next week. The late prime minister’s son Ajit Singh, who heads the RLD, has three MPs and the party’s support is crucial to save the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government which needs 271 votes in the Lok Sabha.

The proposal to rename Lucknow’s Amausi airport Chaudhary Charan Singh airport has been pending with the civil aviation ministry for over three years and the union cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hurriedly cleared it Thursday.

Congress party managers have been working overtime to reach out to smaller parties to enlist their support to survive a determined opposition bid to dislodge it over the India-US nuclear deal.

Incidentally, Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati has been pressing hard for an international airport in Greater Noida near New Delhi, but with her party withdrawing support to the UPA, that proposal may have to wait a while.

Charan Singh became the fifth Prime Minister of India serving from July 1979 until January 1980.

During his term as prime minister the Lok Sabha never met and the day before the parliament was due to meet for the first time the Congress withdrew support from his Bharatiya Lok Dal Government.

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