NEW DELHI�The Indian government survived a key confidence vote Tuesday, clearing the way for passage of the budget and dashing opposition hopes of bringing down the government over an unpopular hike in fuel and fertilizer prices.
The Congress party-led coalition easily secured 246 votes in the 545-member lower house of Parliament against a so-called cut motion over rising prices moved by the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party that would have tripped up the budget. The opposition tallied 162 votes.
The government was given crucial support Tuesday when Kumari Mayawati, leader of the Bahujan Samajwadi Party, a party representing the lower rung of Hinduisms caste hierarchy, announced her partys support at a television press conference. The BSP holds 21 seats in the lower house of the parliament. While calling for a change in government policies over price rises, Ms. Mayawati said: We will support the government on cut motion to defeat the communal forces from coming to power.