Left formally withdraws support, UPA govt reduced to minority

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New Delhi, July 9 (UNI) The Congress-led UPA government was reduced to a minority today after the Left parties formally handed over a letter to President Pratibha Patil conveying their decision to withdraw support to the Government.

Leaders of all the four Left parties reached Rashtrapati Bhavan at 1200 hrs to formally withdraw their support to the Manmohan Singh government in protest against its decision to go ahead with the Indo-US nuclear deal.

CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat, Forward Block General Secretary Debabrata Biswas, CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan and RSP General Secretary T J Chandrachoodan were with the President for about 15 minutes.

They handed over two letters - one formally withdrawing support to the government and the other requesting the President to direct the Prime Minister to seek a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha immediatley.

With the 59-member Left parties withdrawing support, the government has been reduced to a minority.

Party sources said Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee's name was included in the CPI(M) list of MPs who withdrew support to the government. In that case, Mr Chatterjee will have to resign as Speaker. But Mr Chatterjee has so far not announced his decision.

Official sources said the President was likely to give about three weeks for the government to prove its majority on the floor of the Lok Sabha in wake of the withdrawal of support by the the Left.

Since Parliament was not in session at present, a two-week notice had to be given to the Lok Sabha MPs for convening a sitting of the Lok Sabha to facilitate a confidence vote, the sources said.

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