PM scotches mid-term poll talks
New Delhi: Amid speculation that the country is heading for mid-term polls, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asserted on Monday that the UPA has the numbers required to maintain its majority in the Parliament.
"I think dealing with pressure is part of the parliamentary life. I am confident that we have all the numbers that are needed," Singh told reporters on the first day of Parliament's budget session.
Requesting all parties to cooperate on major challenges faced by the country, the PM said, “We are willing to discuss all issues on the floor of the Parliament.”
“I am confident that this Budget Session will run smoothly,” he added.
However, despite PM’s assurance, opposition parties including the BJP and the CPI criticised the government over its policies following President Pratibha Patil's address to the joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament.
The opposition parties are likely to go in for the kill - by attempting to forge floor coordination with some recalcitrant constituents of the UPA to embarrass the government on critical issues.
BJP leader SS Ahluwalia said that the President's address does not indicate steps that the government intends to take in order to revive the economic sentiments. "There is no mention of how the economy can be improved and how it will benefit common man," he said.
CPI leader D Raja said the UPA government had failed to check price rise and inflation and there were reports of oil marketing companies contemplating increase in prices of petroleum products. He said his party will raise issues of price rise and agrarian crisis during the budget session.
Trinamool Congress, a constituent of UPA, too said it had complaints with the Congress but said that the differences can be resolved through talks.
The Congress has seemed to be vulnerable following humiliating defeats in key states such as Uttar Pradesh and Punjab and Goa.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has invited UPA constituents for a dinner at official residence -- 7, Race Course road.
PM’s invitation to UPA allies comes in the backdrop of Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee keeping the government on tenterhooks by making common cause with the non-UPA parties on a range of issues.
Trinamool which has 18 MPs in Lok Sabha is the second largest constituent of UPA.