SP commits support to Cong as PM says no threat to govt over deal

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New Delhi, Jul 7 (UNI) Shortly before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today declared that the UPA government had sufficient numbers to survive and would go to the IAEA undeterred, the Samajwadi Party made a very categorical commitment to voting for the government in case a no-confidence motion was moved in Parliament on the issue of the nuclear deal.

''We are fully satisfied after our interaction with former President A P J Abdul Kalam that the nuclear deal was in the interest of the country, so we support the Congress on the issue and will vote in favour of the government,'' SP General Secretary Amar Singh told reporters here.

A shortwhile later the Prime Minister said, '' Well, I am not worried (on the support withdrawal). As and when such a contingency arises, we are well-equipped to deal with it.'' He was talking to the media while travelling to Toyko, Japan, to attend the 34th G8 summit.

A formal announcement on the SP support is expected after the party's Parliamentary Board meeting to take place here tomorrow.

The SP with 39 members in the Lok Sabha would play a crucial role in the survival of the government if the Left withndraws support to it.

The Prime Minister also expressed his resolve on going to IAEA soon with the safeguards agreement.

Meanwhile, the Left parties will meet here tomorrow to discuss the reply of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in response to their queries as to whether the government was proceeding to seek the approval of the Safeguards Agreement by the Board of Governors of the IAEA.

The effective strength of the Lok Sabha is 542, as two nominated members cannot vote, nor can one elected member, due to a court order. So the magic figure needed by the UPA is 272. Some more votes can come from about half a dozen Independent members.

The UPA minus the Left has 227 members, which when combined with 39 of the Samajwadi Party come to 266.The six votes needed could come from three of RLD and as many of the JD(S). Besides, there are about half a dozen Independent members.

The UPA government had heaved a sigh of relief on July 4, when the SP after meeting Dr Kalam the previous day, made almost an open declaration for the first time of support to the Congress, saying that their doubts over the deal had been cleared by the former President who was firmly of the view that the civil nuclear pact with the US was going to be beneficial for the country.

The UPA government plunged into a crisis after its Left allies threatened that they would withdraw support to the government the moment it went to the IAEA for the India-specific safeguards agreement, which they contend would mean operationalisation of the deal.


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