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UPA should seek fresh mandate on N-deal: Mamata

July 18, 2008 19:57 IST

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The Trinamool Congress on Friday criticised "horse trading" ahead of the July 22 trial of strength in the Lok Sabha and said the United Progressive Alliance government should seek a fresh mandate on the nuclear deal instead of "debasing

"Horse trading which is going on is most reprehensible. What is happening in the name of mustering support is condemnable and against the value-based politics which we stand for. As a citizen and as an MP I feel ashamed of what is going on," party chief Mamata Banerjee told reporters in Kolkata.

Banerjee said 10 MPs were expelled on charges of corruption without being given an "opportunity to defend themselves", and added, "the horse trading which is going now is no less a crime. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Shibu Soren is demanding the coal ministry."

Banerjee, a former railway minister in the National Democratic Alliance government, recalled that the Atal Behari Vajpayee government was defeated by just one vote. "But had Vajpayee compromised, the NDA government would have won the trust vote by a margin of five votes."

Banerjee, who is the lone Lok Sabha MP of her party, also declined to state whether she would vote on July 22.

"It is no use asking me the same question every day. We are busy with our 'Martyrs Day' rally on July 21. The programme was decided much before the trust vote. Whether I will be able to go to Delhi on July 22 will be decided after the rally," she said.

On being told that Communist Party of India-Marxist has excluded Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee's name from the list of MPs who were issued the whip, Banerjee said that whether he resigns or not, depended on him.

"Parliamentary norms and propriety demand that he resign since his name figures in the list of MPs, which was submitted by his party CPI-M to the president," she said.

"He will probably preside over the proceedings of the trust vote and resign afterwards. This is my information," she said.

Asked about jailed MPs being allowed to cast votes, she said, "If the court allows them, why should we object?"

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