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SP moves to prevent cross-voting

July 07, 2008 12:11 IST

Conscious that they might have Trojan horses in their camp, the Samajwadi Party is taking good care that its newfound ally, the Congress, has no complaints from it.

On July 8, the SP will call a meeting of its parliamentary party where not only will instructions be given on the way SP MPs should vote in case of a sudden trust vote, but also, about five MPs will be reassured that they would indeed be given the SP nomination in the next Lok Sabha elections.

Top SP sources admitted that the Congress' apprehensions -- that at least five SP MPs could defy the party whip in a trust vote, causing the vote to be defeated in a House where the ruling alliance has a sliver-thin majority -- were well-placed.

SP leaders like Salim Shervani, they said, had been teetering on the brink for some time now and were in touch with other parties, including the Bahujan Samaj Party, to jump ship.

One MP, Munnawar Hassan, has already crossed the floor, but SP brass waved his name away, claiming he was never an SP MP and had crossed over, more than eight months ago.

"The Congress will never have any complaint from us. We don't want the post of Speaker, we don't want Cabinet posts, we just feel the nuclear agreement is in the national interest," said SP general secretary Amar Singh.

However, he did say that just as he and his party had realised the error of their way of thinking and had changed their mind about the nuclear deal, the Congress too should correct its "mistakes", including on the issue of spectrum charges and taxing windfall profits by private petroleum companies.

Unless all 39 MPs of the SP vote with the Congress-led UPA, the government could lose the trust vote. It has 275 MPs in a House where the halfway mark is 272.

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