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Pranab flies early to New York to meet Manmohan

world Updated: Sep 24, 2011 02:31 IST
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In the face of mounting pressure from the opposition, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is expected to have an unscheduled meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York on Sunday morning before heading home.

"I will be reaching (New York) on Saturday night rather than Sunday afternoon (local time) as scheduled…," Mukherjee confirmed. He, however, did not specify reasons for rescheduling his itinerary. A government official in Delhi said the reasons were "obvious".

The last-minute decision to tweak Mukherjee's itinerary came on a day the BJP relentlessly continued its attack on the government, by targeting the prime minister after he backed home minister P Chidambaram.

Government sources said Singh and Mukherjee had been in constant touch on the phone.

The meeting on Sunday morning, however, will be the first opportunity for the prime minister to discuss the government strategy to counter the opposition onslaught with the finance minister, also the UPA's main trouble-shooter.

Mukherjee, however, made it clear that he was "not cutting short any official engagements in New York". The FM had a media briefing lined up for Sunday morning in Washington DC. "This engagement will be rescheduled to later today (local time)," a government source said.

He will take a United Airlines flight to New York on Saturday night and spend the night at the same hotel as the PM.