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Trust vote: Jaitley challenges Congress to secret ballot

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | July 17, 2008 20:37 IST

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Arun Jaitley, general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party, challenged the Congress party to go in for secret ballot to decide whether more BJP MPs favour the nuclear deal than those in Congress.

He was briefing newsmen after a meeting of senior leaders and chief ministers of the National Democratic Alliance held at the residence of Lal Kishenchand Advani.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yedyurappa could not attend the meeting as they were busy in their state work respectively.

"Congress party's popularity is dropping and does Rahul Gandhi [Images] want to have a secret ballot on whether our young MPs favour the deal or not," he asked.

Earlier, he refused to comment on Rahul Gandhi's statement made in Amethi that the deal is more important than the government. "I would rather not comment on this issue," Jaitley remarked.

He claimed that the chief ministers of the NDA endorsed the stand of the NDA and will ensure the defeat of the Manmohan Singh's [Images] government. He rejected the proposal that the Akali Dal should issue a whip to ensure that all the MPs of the party vote against the government.

"When a man of Badal's stature assures you that the party is united and would vote with BJP, you don't have to ask for whip," Jaitley said.

He listed a number of issues that the NDA MPs would take up during the debate on the confidence motion.

"We would stress on the nuclear deal and the government's all round failure on all fronts, including price rise and inflation. The government has not been able to take a stand on various issues and has failed on the internal security front. NDA members would meet on July 20 where they may take a stand on the speaker's issue," he said.

However, he refused to give the details of the number of MPs who may vote with the NDA saying that this figure is available on television networks and Web sites.

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