We are ready to face Parliament though not sure of majority, says UPA

NEW DELHI: Coming under fire from the Opposition and its estranged Left allies over the flip-flop on the IAEA India-specific safeguards pact, the ruling UPA has said that it is ready to face Parliament although it is still uncertain about winning a majority.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government was severely criticised for approaching the IAEA board of governors on Wednesday to finalise the India-specific safeguards pact, a day after External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced that the step would be taken only after winning the floor test in the Lok Sabha.

While the BJP referred to it as “midnight deceit”, the CPM-led Left parties, which pulled out their support of the government over the India-US civilian nuclear deal on Wednesday, said it was “expected”.

Party spokesperson Manish Tewari said: “This is just an extension of what the prime minister was saying. There is a fine distinction between circulation and ratification (of the draft). As far as the latter is concerned, the government is absolutely committed to what the external affairs minister has said.”

The government claimed things were fine as it was assured of support by 280 MPs, eight more than the magical number of 272 to prove majority in the Lok Sabha.

Manmohan Singh, who returned from Japan where he met US President George Bush, is expected to meet President Pratibha Patil on Thursday evening.

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