Why Beni Prasad should quit Cong to save UPA post DMK exit

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Beni Prasad Verma
New Delhi, March 19: Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram claimed that UPA government is still enjoying the majority in the Lok Sabh even after DMK's decision of pulling out its support from the Centre. However, citing the increasing pressure on Manmohan Singh-led government, it seems that union minister Beni Prasad Verma should resign from Congress to save UPA government.

Beni Prasad, who had irked Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav saying that the former has link with terrorists, was asked to submit his resignation. However, he had ruled out all demands regarding his ouster from the Congress.

Beni Prasad on Tuesday, March 19 skipped the general body meeting of Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) where Sonia Gandhi discussed the party's strategy in the backdrop of Opposition flak over issues like the VVIP chopper deal, Italian marines and DMK threat to pull out of UPA on Sri Lankan Tamils problem.

Many raised eyebrows over Beni Prasad's absence in the crucial meeting just a day after the ruckus in the Parliament which was adjourned on Monday following war battle between the minister and Samajwadi Party MPs.

Mulayam Singh-led Samajwadi Party is one of the crucial allies for UPA. Now, with DMK's ouster, Mulayam Singh would definitely play a much more important role in the coalition government. Citing the present scenario, it seems that Congress would not leave any stone unturned to impress the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.

However, Samajwadi Party on Tuesday reassured its external support to the Centre and termed Karunanidhi's announcement as a "mere threat". Issuing an official statement, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav was quoted as saying, "The DMK has not given any letter to the President. This is all just a show."

With the pullout of the 18 DMK MPs in the Lok Sabha, the strength of the UPA government declines from 295 to 277 in the upper house of Parliament. The UPA has letters of outside support from the Samajwadi Party as well as the Bahujan Samaj Party which have 22 and 21 MPs respectively.

Here are the numbers as they stand right now:

Total strength of House - 540

Halfway mark - 270

UPA with DMK - 295

Without DMK - 277 (With outside support from SP and BSP)

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