We have numbers to topple government: Mayawati (Lead)

July 20th, 2008 - 6:22 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Emerging as the key player in the political drama unfolding ahead of Tuesday’s trust vote, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati Sunday said the opposition camp had the “numbers” to topple the Manmohan Singh government. Addressing reporters after a luncheon meeting with Left and United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) leaders here, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister said: “The government has to be ousted. All the MPs are working towards this.”

“We have a one-point agenda - to topple the government,” she said at a media conference, flanked by Left leaders Prakash Karat and A.B. Bardhan. The UNPA luncheon meeting with the Left and Mayawati was an obvious effort at forging a strong Third Front.

The meeting was held at 9, Safdarjang Road, the residence of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP K. Yerran Naidu.

“I am completely sure of the figures,” Mayawati said, but refused to give the numbers of MPs who were in the opposition camp.

She said all the 17 BSP members of parliament were with her and MPs from other parties were coming “on their own” to join her.

“I have told them that they should resign from their party, fight elections and join us,” she said.

Hitting out at bete noir Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav for his allegations that the BSP was buying its MPs, she said: “Tell me where, who and how much has been spent on buying MPs. There has been no horse trading.”

She said: “The truth is Yadav and company have been trying to save the government at any cost and break BSP ranks.”

She said that in the parliament debate on Monday, there would be discussions on all issues, including the India-US nuclear deal and inflation.

“We will be meeting on July 23 to decide the next course of action,” she said.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Prakash Karat said the UNPA had called the Left and the BSP for the luncheon meet. “We decided that together we will make efforts to defeat the UPA on July 22. We don’t want this government to continue.

“We will continue our struggle against the nuclear deal after the trust motion. We will meet on July 23 again.”

Asked about the possibility of Mayawati becoming the prime minister, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu said: “We will take a decision on July 23.”

Forward Bloc’s Debabrata Biswas concurred, saying the “Left’s ideology has been like that. We worked to make a woman the president of this country.”

TDP leader Yerran Naidu said the UPA had made the nuclear deal a “prestige issue”. “Where is the ‘aam admi’ (common man) they were supposed to work for.”

He said the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Ajit Singh would join them. The RLD leader had met Mayawati earlier in the day and announced he would vote against the government.

Others at the meeting included Communist Party of India (CPI)’s D. Raja and Abani Roy of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).

Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) chief H.D. Deve Gowda’s son H.D. Kumaraswamy was also present.

The luncheon was also attended by other UNPA constituents including TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)’s Brindavan Goswami, Indian National Lok Dal’s Ajay Chautala and Jharkhand leader Babulal Marandi.

The National Conference did not attend. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had said earlier that he had made up his mind on whom to support but declined to make it public.

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