Countdown for trust vote begins as head count continues

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New Delhi, Jul 14: The national political scene this week would further hot up as the countdown for a showdown has begun with the beleaguered UPA Government slated to bring in a motion for the trust vote over the nuclear deal on July 21 at a special two-day session of the Lok Sabha.

The whole nation is keeping fingers crossed over the fate of the UPA Government with rival camps working on a war footing to keep their flocks together and rope in more MPs from other parties. Uttar Pradesh politics is again at the centre of the unfolding drama with the state's key political players Samajwadi Pary and the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party being on opposite sides. The state sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha.The Manmohan Singh Government plunged into a crisis on July 8 when the Left parties finally carried out their threat to withdraw support over the nuke deal issue.

The Left announcement to pull the plug was made while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was away in Japan attending the G-8 summit.

However, the Congress-led UPA Government had already roped in the Samajwadi Party, which has 39 MPs.

The new found friendship between the Congress and the SP has brought the BSP into the Left camp, which were so far thought to be more ideologically close to the SP. In fact the communists have always criticised the ''casteist'' policies of Ms Mayatwati's party.

Yesterday, CPI (M) leader Prakash Karat went to Ms Mayawati's place to work out a joint strategy in Parliament. He is also reported to have sent an emissary to BJP leader L K Advani. In fact, there are differences in the Left over the issue.

Mr Karat also discussed the possibility of bringing in the BSP in the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) which almost disintegrated with its founder member SP going out.

The BSP, which has 17 members in the Lok Sabha, would also play an important role in deciding the fate of the Manmohan Singh Government, which needs 272 votes to survive in a House of 543.

The UPA minus the Left has 221 members- Congress 153, RJD 24, DMK 16, NCP 11, PMK 6, JMM five, LJP 4 and IUML and PDP one each.

Two MPs of the MDMK, which was also earlier among the UPA allies, have said they would support the Congress.

Six more votes could come from the RLD and the JD(S), but these parties have kept the Congress-led Government guessing so far as they are reported to be bargaining hard before committing their support.

Among the UPA allies, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha of Shibu Soren and PMK have also not committed but they are likely to vote for the Congress.

There are about half a dozen Independent members also.

However, there is doubt over loyalty of as many as half a dozen SP MPs, who are reported to have been offered tickets by the BSP for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

But, the cross voting may also work against the rival camps, with generous offer of election tickets and money as the weapons in possession of the other side too.

According to political observers, the situation is very fluid because the MPs may not hesitate to violate the party whip in view of the fact that the the Lok Sabha may not last beyond a few months even if the UPA government may win the trust vote.

UNI

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