Numbers game in LS headed towards photo finish on July 22

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New Delhi, Jul 20 (UNI) The numbers game in the Lok Sabha on July 22 inched towards a photo finish with the JMM pledging its backing to the UPA and the RLD and the JD(S) deciding to vote against the Confidence Motion of the Manmohan Singh government.

Unfazed by the decision of the Janata Dal (Secular) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to vote against the UPA government in the Lok Sabha on July 22, the Congress asserted that the government was not short of numbers to survive the trust vote.

''These two parties were neither the UPA partners nor a supporting group,'' AICC General Secretary Veerappa Moily told UNI pointing out that ''it would have been a bonus, had they voted with the government.'' The UPA government received a major setback when the RLD, which has three MPs in the lower house, decided to vote against the trust motion for which the House is meeting tomorrow at 1100 hrs.

In another significant development, the SP, reeling under desertion by at least five of its MPs, got a shot in the arm tonight when BJP MP from Balrampur Brij Bhushan Saran Singh announced he would join the party.

The SP claimed it had 36 MPs with it with the addition of Mr Singh, who announced his decision at a crowded press conference addressed by SP General Secretary Amar Singh at his residence.

Amid reports of dwindling numbers with the ruling UPA, the Left, the UNPA, the BSP and the JD(S) agreed on a one-point programme-'Topple the Government'.

The top leaders of all these parties met here and announced that all of them would work unitedly to ensure the defeat of the government when it brings in a trust motion in the Lok Sabha at a special session beginning tomorrow.

They also announced that they would meet again on July 23 to decide their future course of action.

In the interim, dinner diplomacy took centrestage tonight with the Prime Minister hosting a dinner for UPA's MPs and Leader of the Opposition L K Advani for NDA lawmakers where the former Deputy Prime Minister exuded optimism that the Opposition would have enough numbers to defeat the Prime Minister-sponsored motion and said the saffron party would want an election after an ''imminent fall'' of the UPA government.

CPI(M)'s Prakash Karat claimed that the ... picking up from para eight, line one of DI43, POLITICS-TRUST VOTE-ROUNDUP.

UNI team BDP RN2202

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