PM meets Mayawati ahead of Parliament session
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today hosted a lunch for BSP supremo Mayawati after the dinner for Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday in an apparent bid to firm up support of the outside allies in Parliament where opposition is expected to corner the government on a variety of issues.
Both the government and Mayawati dismissed questions that the engagement with the parties from Uttar Pradesh were an attempt to enlist their backing in the coming winter session beginning on November 22.
The lunch for Mayawati, whose party with 21 members in the Lok Sabha, came just days after the Prime Minister hosted a dinner for Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. SP has 22 members in the Lok Sabha.
The meetings assume signficance after Trinamool Congress, having 19 members in the Lok Sabha, pulled out of the UPA and is planning to move a no confidence motion against the government on FDI in retail and other issues.
After the meeting, Mayawati told the media not to link the lunch with the Prime Minister with the winter session saying she keeps meeting the Prime Minister on occasions because her party was supporting the government and lunches and dinners were nothing new.
Asked about her stand on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's statement on the no confidence motion, she remained evasive.
"I have spoken about this in detail in our party rally in Lucknow on October 9. We will take whatever steps necessary keeping in mind what we had said in that rally," Mayawati said.
"Whenever such a situation crops up, ask us this question but why do you want our response in advance," she retorted, adding that her party members have authorised her to take a final decision on supporting the UPA. She has, however, not taken a call on the issue so far.
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