Cong goes on top gear to prove majority, seal nuke deal

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New Delhi, Jul 10 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called on President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and conveyed the UPA government's readiness to prove its majority on the floor of the Lok Sabha as the Congress was preparing the ground for mobilising its strength with meetings of the UPA coordination committee and the party's Working Committee (CWC) tomorrow.

Dr Singh, who met the President at her request, told Ms Patil that he and his Cabinet colleagues ''are keen'' on convening a special session of the Lok Sabha ''early'' to take a trust vote.

He said he would convey her the exact date by tomorrow evening after the meetings of the UPA and CWC.

In related developments, the Congress announced that it would stop the India-specific safeguards agreement process at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if the UPA failed to secure the confidence vote even as the government released the proposed text of the agreement after asking the UN nuclear watchdog to convene its Board of Governors meeting to approve it.

Dr Singh visited Rashtrapati Bhavan as the President wanted to have his views on yesterday's developments that saw leaders of the Left parties calling on her to withdraw their support to the government and the Samajwadi Party extending its support to prop up UPA's strength in the Lok Sabha in a bid to prevent the 50-month-old coalition from losing power.

The PM-President meeting lasted about half-an-hour.

Meanwhile, the core group of the Congress held a meeting today which was addressed by Dr Singh and party President Sonia Gandhi on the political developments.

The meeting of the UPA allies is slated for the morning at Dr Singh's official residence at 7 Race Course Road apparently to finalise their strategy to prove their majority, the CWC would meet in the evening at 10 Janpath where UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi resides.

The CWC is expected to assess the situation arising from the political developments following the government's decision to go ahead with the Indo-US nuclear deal by finalising the safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had on Tuesday announced that the government would sign the safeguards agreement only after demonstrating its majority on the floor of the House.

AICC Media Department Chairman M Veerappa Moily today clarified that there was no contradiction between Mr Mukherjee's statement and India asking IAEA to convene its Board meeting for the safeguards pact. The government would drop the agreement proposal if it failed to prove majority, he said.

Mr Moily also clarified that Dr Singh had offered to convene a special sitting of the Lok Sabha to face the trial of strength, much before the President's request for meeting him.


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