A day after Mamata Banerjee and her party, the Trinamool Congress, formally pulled out of the UPA, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to meet President Pranab Mukherjee to assure him that his government is safe on numbers, sources have told NDTV. The meeting is likely to take place at 5 this evening.
Despite the exit of Ms Banerjee and her 19 Lok Sabha MPs, the government is not in any imminent danger as it has the external support of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati, who have 43 MPs between them. This takes the UPA safely past the 272 votes it needs to remain in power.
Mr Yadav confirmed yesterday that he would continue to support the UPA. Neither Mayawati nor he participate in the government.
Meanwhile, NDTV has also learnt that after the divorce with Ms Banerjee's party, the Congress is likely to keep the Railways portfolio, which was till yesterday held by Trinamool's Mukul Roy. Road Transport and Highways Minister CP Joshi is likely to get additional charge of the Railway Ministry, according to sources.
Mukul Roy was among the six ministers from Ms Banerjee's party who submitted their resignation letters to the PM last evening. The others who resigned were Saugata Roy, Sisir Adhikari, Mohan Jatua, Sultan Ahmed and Sudip Bandopadhyay. While Mr Roy was a Cabinet minister, the rest were ministers of state.
The Trinamool quit the UPA over the government's decisions to increase diesel prices, cap the supply of subsidised cooking gas to households, and allow foreign mega-stores like Wal-Mart to arrive in India.