Political parties opposing nuke deal gear up for crucial trust vote

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New Delhi, July 18 : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is sensing an opportunity to bring down the UPA Government during the trust vote on July 22, a chance it had been waiting for over four years.

Arun Jaitley, a BJP spokesperson said that the basis on which the UPA government was formed has altered. If after four and half years in power they were seeking vote of confidence, the nuclear issue would be the key issue.

He said that the overall non-performance of the UPA and its failures on various fronts will be amongst the prominent issues.

The communists have slammed Dr. Singh's UPA Government for going hammer and tong to rally support of smaller groups and independents, even to the extent of eliciting support of convicted lawmakers.

Nilotpal Basu, a Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader, said: "We have pointed out that legally there may not be a bar on the people who have been convicted to vote on the trust vote on July 22. But at the same time, it is the question of political image of the government and that of the UPA. We don't think that convicted MPs should be mobilised in this manner for the vote. We had earlier pointed out to the growing and very visible influence of the corporate sector in this process. So these are definitely threats to our democratic process and therefore should be avoided."

Six lawmakers jailed for crimes from extortion to murder are being temporarily freed to participate in a tight no-confidence vote that will decide the fate of the government and the nuclear deal with the United States.

The Constitution allows convicted lawmakers to participate in a parliamentary vote.

A smaller group, the National Loktantrik Party said that the government would rather do well to seek fresh mandate.

"So if you are able to attain majority through hectic bargaining and succeed in formalising the India-US nuclear agreement, it would not be a good thing. You either resign or dissolve parliament and seek public opinion through elections by seeking the confidence of 1.1 billion people," said Arshad Khan, party president.

Meanwhile, Bali Ram Bhagat, former speaker of Lok Sabha, said the speaker's office is above party politics and that the present incumbent Somnath Chatterjee, has set a good example by not yielding "blindly" to toe the party line.

"I am confident and I pray that he should stick to his decision. This would enhance the reputation of the office. If today he succumbs to pressure, it will set a wrong precedent. In future whenever there will be a no confidence motion everybody will expect the speaker to resign," Bhagat said.

The government believes it has enough votes to avoid an early election after securing the backing of the Samajwadi Party (SP). But, observers say the trust vote could turn out to be close.

If the government loses, early elections will be called and the Indo-US nuclear deal with the United States, over which the government's communist allies withdrew support, could be buried.

The government needs to reach the 272 mark in the 543 member lower house of parliament to win the vote.

ANI

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