The top Congress leadership today met to finalise its strategy in the wake of Trinamool Congress deciding to withdraw its support to the UPA Government as another key ally Samajwadi Party will meet here tomorrow to decide its stand.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and was closeted with him over discussions on how to tackle the threat to the Government caused by Trinamool’s decision.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister A K Antony and Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel were also present in the discussion. Earlier in the day, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia had a meeting with the Prime Minister.

Trinamool, the second largest constituent of UPA with 19 MPs last night decided to withdraw support to the Government and pull out its Ministers opposing the decision to hike diesel price, cap supply of subsidised LPG cylinders and allow FDI in multi brand retail.

It has set a deadline of Friday afternoon to reconsider its stand if the Government rolls back its decisions.

Meanwhile, Mulayam Singh Yadav, leader of the 22-strong Samajwadi Party, whose support for Government assumes importance in the current context, expressed opposition to Government’s decisions but declined to reveal the Party strategy.

“Tomorrow there is a meeting of the Samajwadi Party’s Parliamentary Board. We will decide our strategy there,” he told reporters here.

The SP Chief said his Party would go ahead with its plans to hold demonstrations to oppose the price hike. “There will be opposition in Uttar Pradesh and the entire country. The demonstrations in support of people’s issue will happen,” Yadav said.

He criticised the Government saying that its policies have added to the burden of the common man.

“We want that wisdom should dawn upon the Government. What have you (the government) given to the people apart from inflation and corruption? There is so much burden on the common man, so much burden on the farmers,” Yadav added.

“This obstinate attitude will only weaken it. Due to this attitude, the Congress party will become very weak,” he said.

Yadav was asked by the reporters if he thought that the attitude of the Government was coming in the way of its smooth functioning.

Following Trinamool’s decision, the strength of UPA in the Lok Sabha has come down from 273 to 254, which is 19 short of the half-way mark of 273 in the Lok Sabha. However, with the support of outside allies SP (22), BSP (21), RJD (4) and JD-S (3), its strength goes upto 304 in a House of 545.

(This article was published on September 19, 2012)
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