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  • Left meets President, hands over letter of withdrawal

    New Delhi (PTI): The Left parties on Wednesday formally withdrew support to the UPA government.

    Leaders of the four Left parties, led by CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat, handed over letters of withdrawal of support to the four-year-old UPA government to President Pratibha Patil just after noon.

    The four Left parties have 59 members in the Lok Sabha.

    "We have met the President and have given her a letter on behalf of the four Left parties withdrawing support to the UPA government," Karat told reporters.

    He said the four Left parties have also given a separate letter asking the President to convene a session of the Lok Sabha and direct Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek a trust vote.

    Following the withdrawal of support by Left parties the strength of the ruling coalition has been reduced to 230.

    Samajwadi Party, which has 39 MPs in the Lok Sabha, has announced support to the government which still leaves the ruling UPA three members short of majority.

    UPA managers are claiming that as of now the Government could count on the support of at least 273 members in the Lok Sabha which currently has 543 members. There are two vacancies.

    A confident Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose announcement that India will very soon approach the IAEA for the safeguards agreement triggered Left's break up, had said the Left decision will "not affect the stability of the government".

    The talk of unease among some MPs in Samajwadi in joining hands with the Congress has triggered speculation that the party may not have the backing of all the 39 MPs. But SP leader Amar Singh claimed all the members will vote for the government.

    NCP chief Sharad Pawar and RJD supremo Lalu Yadav claimed that the UPA has numbers on its side to win a confidence vote.

    The ruling side is banking on three independents-- Thupstan Chhewang from Jammu and Kashmir, Harish Nagpal from Uttar Pradesh and Charenamei Mani from Manipur.

    The three-member RLD is also being seen as a supporter of the ruling side with Ajit Singh having a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi sometime back. Congress is also hopeful that former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's JD-S which has three MPS may vote for the government.

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