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Indian government on ropes as coalition partner withdraws support

Published on Sep 19, 2012 4:09 PM

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh scrambled to save his government on Wednesday after a key coalition partner quit, raising the prospect of early elections and undermining his reform drive.

The regional Trinamool party said on Tuesday it had decided to withdraw support from the Congress-led coalition in a move analysts and its opponents said could cause the government to fall before the next elections due in 2014.

Trinamool's six ministers would submit their resignations on Friday and its 19 MPs would cease to offer support in parliament, the party's firebrand leader Ms Mamata Banerjee told reporters on Tuesday.

The United Progressive Alliance II coalition (UPA II) is dominated by Mr Singh's Congress party, but has been dependent on Trinamool for a majority in parliament. Mr Singh held talks with his Congress party boss Sonia Gandhi as well as senior cabinet figures on Wednesday to discuss how to respond to the crisis caused by a string of economic reforms unveiled last week, a source in his office said.

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