Nuke deal: SP claims backing of all its 39 MPs
The Samajwadi Party letter pledging support of 39 MPs to the Congress-led UPA has been submitted to President Pratibha Patil.
The list contains names of all the 39 members elected on the SP ticket, party general secretary Amar Singh said, adding that National Loktantrik Party member Baleshwar Yadav had also committed support to the SP stand and would vote to save the Manmohan Singh government.
In another day of fast-paced political activity, the SP general secretary made a swift visit to the South Block — shortly after his meeting with the President.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that he met the Prime Minister’s Principal Advisor T.K.A. Nair to discuss follow-up action on two letters earlier submitted by him demanding policy initiatives to prevent domestic oil companies from generating windfall profits — as also the demand for imposition of spectrum usage charges on GSM telecom operators including Airtel and Vodafone.
Shortly thereafter, Reliance Infocom Chairman Anil Ambani called on Singh’s 27, Lodhi Estate residence.
Meanwhile, efforts to ensure that the SP parliamentary party votes as a block of 39 are proceeding at a furious pace.
This morning, Singh called up rebel MP Beni Prasad Verma to persuade him. “Singh need not have called, as I am going to vote for the Congress, anyway,” he said.
For his part, Verma, who has been negotiating entry into the Congress, is also pitching in with his bit to save the government. “I am in touch with Ateeq Ahmed (SP member from Phulpur), who has assured me that he will vote in favor of the Congress,” he said, claiming four other MPs from UP — two each from BSP and BJP — had indicated their willingness to support the government.
Incidentally, Verma held a meeting on Wednesday night with AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh to examine the political arithmetic in the context of the SP’s support — as well as to discuss the outlines of a possible Congress-SP alliance for the parliamentary elections in UP.
In a move to pre-empt the possibility of a defiance of the party whip, the SP has been spreading the word that it did have the privilege of sending an advance letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker requesting him that the votes of certain MPs be negated as they were likely to defy the party whip.
“The party leadership might well exercise their privilege, but it will be one vote less for the SP in any case,” rebel MP from Muzaffarnagar, Munawwar Hasan told HT.