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UNHRC vote on Sri Lanka today, India set to vote against neighbour

CNN-IBN
Mar 21, 2013 at 02:37pm IST

New Delhi: The UPA-II regime continues to be on life support as it is now completely dependent on outside support after the DMK pulled out and the all-party meet on Wednesday failed to reach a consensus. While the UPA-II's fate hangs in balance, all eyes are on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) vote on Sri Lankan war crimes, that will take place in Geneva on Thursday at 2:30 pm (IST).

The US-sponsored draft resolution before the ongoing session of the UNHRC calls the Sri Lankan government to conduct an "independent and credible" investigation into allegations of human rights violations. India is getting ready to move amendments to the US draft in Geneva. According to sources, one amendment asks the Sri Lankan government to form an independent inquiry commission to investigate allegations of abuses.

ALSO SEE All-party meet on Sri Lanka row fails, DMK defiant, TMC plans no-trust vote

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka at the United Nations is without its powerful allies of last year like Russia and China, who not only opposed the resolution then but campaigned very strongly against it. This time the Sri Lankan delegation itself is a low key affair as it has a small number of diplomats.

Most of the 13 Western and Eastern European nations are expected to support the resolution as are many of the 13 African nations. A good deal of support is also expected from the Latin American and Asian members. But this stands only to the extent that there is not very substantial change to the resolution.

The voting procedure at UNHRC

The United Nations Human Rights Council will vote on resolutions for two days - Thursday and Friday. The US resolution on Sri Lanka is listed first for Thursday. Sri Lanka will oppose the resolution when it is introduced and call for a vote on the resolution.

There are 47 countries in the council including Libya which is currently suspended. The remaining 46 countries will vote on the US resolution. US expects that at least 30 countries will back the resolution.

In case India wants to move an amendment, it will need 24 members to back the amendment.

UPA-II's political woes

The UPA-II, after DMK's withdrawal, is now banking upon the man who has always helped the government survive in crisis, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is once again holding the aces. Mulayam with his 21 MPs is the oxygen supply that the UPA needs.

That is one reason why the Congress leadership went out of it's way on Wednesday to pacify Mulayam in his battle with Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, who himself had apologised to Mulayam and his men, went to the extent of personally accompanying Beni to express this regret.

"If my actions have hurt any one, then I express regret," Beni Prasad said after SP MPs demanded his resignation for linking Mulayam to terrorists. But this regret isn't good enough for Mulayam as he is now asking for an apology inside Parliament as well. In fact, the SP Parliamentary board will meet on Thursday morning to chalk out its plan of action.

Aware that Beni's comments against Mulayam have touched a raw nerve within the SP, the BJP immediately attempted to widen the schism. Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said, "Mulayam is a respected leader of this country. The minister who made these statements must resign." But it remains to be seen whether Mulayam Singh, the man who has bailed out the UPA on multiple occasions in the past, will think any differently this time.

Meanwhile, sources told CNN-IBN that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was undecided on the trust vote but the Trinamool Congress could ask for a no-confidence motion against the government in Parliament on Thursday.

Conflicting reports have been coming in over Trinamool Congress's position on the issue. Earlier in the day, party president Mamata Banerjee, in a Facebook post, expressed support to the government saying that while her party was "deeply concerned about the atrocities meted out to a section of Tamil population in a foreign country", "on issue of external affairs or foreign policy our party never interferes...We leave it to the central government to decide on the issue".

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