UPA govt stable, has the numbers: PM to President



UPA govt stable, has the numbers: PM to President Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: A day after the Trinamool Congress quit the ruling UPA, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday met President Pranab Mukherjee to discuss the political situation.

According to Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Venu Rajamony, the meeting lasted for 45 minutes.

Sources said the PM assured the President during the meeting that his UPA-II government has the numbers to prove majority in Parliament if called to do so.

The meeting also came amid intense speculation of a Cabinet reshuffle likely next week, necessitated in the wake of vacancies caused by the departure of Trinamool ministers. Also, some ministers are holding more than one portfolio and the PM wants to ease their burden.

An official announcement, meanwhile, said Union Minister CP Joshi has been given additional charge of Railways held by Mukul Roy of Trinamool Congress. This is seen as a stop gap arrangement ahead of significant changes in the Council of Ministers.

President Mukherjee is scheduled to leave on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on September 26.

Six Trinamool Congress ministers had resigned from the government yesterday and the party gave the President a letter withdrawing support of its 19 MPs from the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition. The UPA has been reduced to a working minority in the Lok Sabha.

However, the government claims it has the support of over 300 MPs in the House.

The Trinamool quit the UPA in protest against its new economic measures - FDI in multi-brand retail, hike in diesel prices, and a cap on subsidised cooking gas cylinders.

Minus the Trinamool, the UPA claims it has 254 MPs. The half-way mark in the 545-member Lok Sabha is 273.

The UPA has now got outside support of the Samajwadi Party (22 MPs), the Bahujan Samaj Party (21 MPs) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (4).

(With Agency inputs)