The BJP’s plans of denying tickets to several sitting MPs appear to have taken a hit. Some of them are seeking assurances from top leaders that they will be renominated — as a condition for turning up for the crucial trust vote on July 22.
Twenty Lok Sabha whips of the BJP held strategy sessions with deputy leader V.K. Malhotra ahead of the parliamentary party meet on Sunday where a head count will be carried out. L.K. Advani, who is to host a dinner for NDA MPs later in the day, met A.B. Vajpayee on Saturday.
Venkaiah Naidu is said to be in touch with two or three Congress MPs from Karnataka while JD(U) leaders are tapping “at least” four RJD MPs.
At a Shiv Sena meeting called by Uddhav Thackeray, two of its 12 MPs did not turn up. NCP leader Sharad Pawar was said to be persuading them to abstain at the vote.
The French Ambassador to India Jérôme Bonnafont called on BJP chief Rajnath Singh to discuss the party’s stand on the nuclear deal.
Advani counters Sibal
Advani termed as “baseless” Congress’s claims that he had agreed to the nuclear deal in his meeting with the PM in December 2007.
“I have seen reports quoting Kapil Sibal that I had expressed my consent... I strongly rebut this report which is baseless.”
Sibal had claimed in an interview to a news channel that Advani had given his consent to the deal but later backed out when he failed to convince his party.
Advani said he had only suggested that the Atomic Energy Act needs to be amended to insulate the deal from the effects of the Hyde Act.