Venkaiah asks UPA Govt to step down

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Hyderabad, Oct 18 (UNI) Charging that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government had ''practically been reduced to a minority'', senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu today demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must step down from his office instead of running a ''lame duck government''.

The Congress-led government at the Centre had lost all credibility to govern the country after the Drivada Munnetra Kazhagam, a key constituent of the ruling coalition, set the October 28 ultimatum for it to act on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and threatened to pull out all its MPs, he told a press conference here.

While one party after another, starting from the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK), Bahujan Samaj Party, Communist Party of India and CPI(Marxist), had withdrawn support to the government, both the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the DMK were threatening to withdraw support, the BJP MP contended.

He opined that instead of talking to each other to iron out differences, both the DMK and the Congress party, leading the coalition, were releasing letters to each other in public.

The SP was demanding the scalp of Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Finance Minister P Chidambaram for continuing support to the UPA Government, he claimed.

''The country is not safe in the hands of the Manmohan Singh Government as there is no safety for people's lives and their shares with the Sensex slipping below 10,000 points,'' he claimed.

He demanded an explanation for the steep fall in the Sensex from the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, who had earlier claimed that ''India's growth story was intact as the national economy was decoupled from the Global economy.'' He asked the UPA Government to immediately reduce the price of petrol and diesel in the wake of the crude oil price crumbling to USD 68 per barrel in the international market.

The country was facing a serious crisis on several fronts, including internal security, food security and unemployment, he alleged.

After not convening the Monsoon session of Parliament, the UPA government had called for the Parliament session during the ''inconvenient'' festival season only out of fear to face Parliament on various issues, including the Indo-US nuclear deal. Many of the MPs would be busy during the session with state Assembly elections in some states, he added.

UNI SM VA VV RSA KN1848

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