New Delhi/Chandigarh/Ranchi, July 18 : The Congress party has expressed confidence about having majority ahead of trust vote amid reports that one of its key supporters, Samajwadi Party is struggling to keep its flock together due to dissatisfaction among some of its 39 lawmakers over the party's decision to back the government.
The fate of the government depends on a confidence vote on Tuesday after communist allies of the Manmohan Singh government withdrew their support to the ruling coalition in protest against going ahead with the civilian nuclear deal with the United States.
The Congress party believes that the government will survive the vote after securing support of the Samajwadi Party. The vote is essentially between a ruling Congress party coalition and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the communists.
While talking to reporters in New Delhi on Friday, Congress spokesperson expressed confidence about having garnered majority.
"We are absolutely confident, comfortable. We are 280 plus. This is a clear picture which has emerged as on today. And it will go stronger from today and we are not going to be weaker. We knew our strength very well. And we have never been reduced to minority even on the day Left withdrew support from us. We had the strength even at that time that's why our Prime Minister confidently declared that he will seek the vote of trust. And that confidence has never been shaken," Moily said.
While the Samajwadi Party is worried over the loyalty of some of its MPs, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) a principal ally of the BJP is facing flak from some of its members over the issue of not supporting the Sikh Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
SAD leader and Chief of Punjab Prakash Singh Badal said that his party is against mismanagement of the Congress government and not against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"Our fight is against Congress, mismanagement, inflation, corruption, unemployment and poverty during party's regime. This vote of confidence is not on inflation or nuke deal; this is just presented in front of people. The government is in minority thus it's their right to ask for vote of confidence. It's all about vote of confidence; it's not the matter of Sikh Prime Minister. We want (the) Congress government to fall," Badal told reporters in Chandigarh.
SAD has eight members in the Lok Sabha.
The Samajwadi Party stepped in to replace the communists' support. But the vote still looks extremely tight.
A meeting called on Friday by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to discuss the vote of confidence was attended by only 16-17 lawmakers, said an unnamed party official present at the meeting.
One rebel MP of Samajwadi Party said several parliamentarians would vote against the government.
"We will be voting against the government, in the interest of the people and country's benefit. And government will definitely fall. If you think that government will survive its not possible. Presently, there are some Congress members who have also gone against the party," said Munawwar Hasan, a rebel MP of Samajwadi Party to reporters in New Delhi.
On the other hand, in better news for the government, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), which has five MPs in parliament, will support the government in next week's confidence vote, party's chief whip, Teklal Mahto told reporters in Ranchi while the party chief Shibu Soren remained non committal.
"We don't know about Shibu Soren but we are with United Progressive Alliance (UPA). This is absolutely wrong that I have taken money, I have been with UPA since the time I joined politics," said Mahato.
Ahead of Tuesday's vote, the Congress party-led ruling coalition and opposition parties are desperately tying up support, with analysts saying the outcome was too close to call.
The winning of the confidence vote is crucial for operationalising the civil nuclear deal that would constitute one of the most important achievements of the UPA government in its four years in office.