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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

UPA not averse to acquiring 'new friends': Chidambaram

PTI  New Delhi, September 20, 2012
First Published: 16:39 IST(20/9/2012) | Last Updated: 17:08 IST(20/9/2012)

A day before Trinamool Congress withdraws support to the UPA, government today dismissed questions over its stability and said it was not averse to acquiring "new friends".

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"We had enough friends yesterday, we have enough friends today. So, I don't think why you should doubt our stability," Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here.

Asked whether the government would look for new allies, he said, "If we can acquire new friends, why would we not?"

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said the government was stable as it has the support of over 300 MPs in the 545-member Lok Sabha.

"We have support of over 300 members of Parliament who do realise that these are difficult times and know that hard decisions need to be taken," she said, rejecting the perception that the government had been reduced to a minority.

Soni said a number of leaders had made it clear that early elections were not in national interest.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid said the government had support of enough members of Parliament and of friends both within and outside the coalition.

Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, which has 19 members in the Lok Sabha, has announced its decision to quit the UPA over diesel price hike, FDI in multi-brand retail and a cap on subsidised LPG cylinders.

Trinamool Congress has said its representatives in the Union Council of Ministers would resign tomorrow and meet President Pranab Mukherjee to hand over a letter withdrawing support to the UPA.


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