Parties debate oncoming crisis, BJP to press for trust vote (Lead)

July 2nd, 2008 - 7:58 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

New Delhi/Kanpur, July 2 (IANS) As the government hurtled towards a crisis where it could be reduced to a minority over its stance on the nuclear deal with the US and desperately tried to win over friends, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday said clearly it would press for a trust vote in parliament. On a day when the Left readied for a showdown with the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) it props with 61 MPs and the Samajwadi Party, propelled as kingmakers with 39 MPs, got a briefing on the deal from National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, the BJP spelt out what lay ahead.

“If the Left withdraws its support from the government, then we would press for the government to prove its majority on the floor of the house,” BJP chief Rajnath Singh told reporters in Kanpur.

BJP sources said the party leadership had not discussed the issue formally. It could be thrashed out once the Left parties formally withdraw support, said a party leader.

While the BJP treaded carefully, the embattled Congress continued its efforts to get as many allies as possible to support the nuclear deal and its government.

It received an assurance from Uttar Pradesh leader Ajit Singh that his Rashtriya Lok Dal and its three MPs would support the nuclear deal.

In far away Dubai, External Affairs Minister and Congress’ chief interlocutor on the nuclear deal Pranab Mukherjee, on his way back from Cairo, met Nationalist Congress Party leader and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and discussed the political situation.

The Congress’ biggest hope to ward off an immediate crisis, the Samajwadi Party, was also busy confabulating. Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh was first closeted with senior party leader Janeswar Mishra and then with his general secretary Amar Singh.

Some sources in the party said that its Muslim MPs were unhappy supporting the Congress over the nuclear deal.

Mulayam Singh’s ally in the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu was, however, leaning towards the Left because of his party’s antipathy to the Congress in Andhra Pradesh.

The UNPA, the third anti-Congress, anti-BJP alternative, is scheduled to meet Thursday. The Left parties will meet the next day.

The Communists too continued their internal discussions. Communist Party Of India (CPI) general secretary A.B. Bardhan met his Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) counterpart Prakash Karat and also Janata Dal-Secular leader and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda.

On Tuesday, the Communist leadership had met the Samajwadi Party. But Amar Singh informed them that his party would back the UPA. According to Samajwadi Party leaders, the party is expected to extend outside support - it will not be a part of the government for now.

Friday should be the day of a final decision for the Left. Its largest constituent, the CPI-M, has decided that the Left parties will ask the government to clarify its final position on the contentious deal Friday.

Once they get a specific reply - the Communists believe that the government has decided to go ahead with the nuclear pact - they will go to President Pratibha Patil to inform her of their withdrawal of support.

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