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SP exacting price for backing Pranab

The bonhomie between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party that started with Mulayam Singh Yadav taking a U-turn on not supporting Pranab Mukherjee as the United Progressive Alliance candidate for the president's post is taking the next logical steps. The Samajwadi Party is now busy working out the details of a financial package from the centre for Uttar Pradesh.

After the Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav demanded a financial package of Rs 97,000 crore from the central government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured the Samajwadi Party to discuss the matters next month. 'The prime minister has called a meeting in July to discuss this matter. We expect that the fund will be released soon thereafter,' said the Rajya Sabha member of the Samajwadi Party Naresh Agarwal.

Akhilesh Yadav has already met Singh on the issue. He told Singh that money was needed for projects like flood control and National Rural Health Mission, among other things. It is learnt that the Samajwadi Party leaders have already met various ministers to discuss this matter and they have been promised the requisite funds.

The Samajwadi Party expects that the financial package for the state will be granted without any hitches, 'We have shown our support to the government. Now, they should also reciprocate,' said Agarwal. However, he issued a veiled threat in case the centre failed to deliver.

'If the government does not support us now, the United Progressive Alliance will bear the brunt in 2014,' added Agarwal.
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