Amid mid-term poll talk, PM to host UPA dinner



Amid mid-term poll talk, PM to host UPA dinner Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: With speculations rife for mid-term polls and UPA allies giving a tough time to the Congress, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is hosting a dinner on Tuesday for coalition constituents.

The dinner was originally scheduled for Monday but was postponed till today. It will be held at PM’s official residence -- 7, Race Course Road.

The dinner diplomacy comes in the wake of Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee keeping the government on tenterhooks by making common cause with non-UPA parties on a range of issues.

Trinamool, which has 18 MPs in Lok Sabha, is the second largest constituent of UPA.

Banerjee was invited by SAD leader Parkash Singh Badal and SP leader Akhilesh Yadav for their swearing-in as Chief Ministers of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh respectively. This gave a momentum to the talks of a possible Third Front.

The West Bengal Chief Minister, who first accepted the invitation, later relented and decided to send her emissaries to the event.

The change in Mamata’s stance came after Congress said that one should not cross the “Laxman rekha” of “coalition dharma”.

PM Singh, meanwhile, asserted yesterday 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.

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.”