CONGRESS has denied the allegations that the party is indulging in horse-trading to win loyalties of lawmakers ahead of the trust vote in Lok Sabha and has expressed the hope that the government will "sail through" the floor test smoothly, reports Doordarshan News. CPM, SP and SAD on Friday issued whips to its MPs to vote against the UPA govt. The battle for the survival of the UPA government intensified on Friday amidst speculation that two key players, Shibu Soren and Ajit Singh, may be baited with Cabinet berths after the July 22 trust vote to ensure the support of their eight MPs. In the numbers game, the ruling UPA still appeared to be short of a dozen MPs from the magic figure of 271 and was heavily banking on small groups like the JMM, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), National Conference and JD (S) but signals coming from the Deve Gowda-led party did not appear to be good. Four days ahead of the trust vote in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, the pace of political manoeuvring picked up with some MPs coming out openly to say that they would defy their party whips. These included one each from Congress and Samajwadi Party besides two from MDMK, who will not toe the party line and who are expected to support the government. As speculation mounted that the Congress leadership was willing to fulfil the wish-list of fence-sitters, Soren's JMM (five MPs), Ajit Singh's RLD (three MPs) and H D Deve Gowda's JD-S (three MPs), were much sought after. Indications available on Friday night raised the possibility of JMM supporting the government in exchange for Soren returning to the Union Cabinet as Coal Minister, a portfolio he lost after being convicted in a murder case in which he was subsequently acquitted. While Soren himself said very little, JMM chief whip Teklal Mahtao went on record to say that all the five party MPs would vote for the government. That did nothing to stop talk in political circles that the BJP was tempting him with an offer of chief ministership of Jharkhand. Highly-placed sources said after a meeting of the Congress Core Group headed by Sonia Gandhi and attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that there was no possibility of cabinet changes till July 22. The Congress party was also rocked by dissidence from a backbencher Arvind Sharma from Haryana who attacked the party and the government for "targeting" BSP chief Mayawati and indicated he might vote against the trust motion. One of the senior ministers conceded that the "game could be over" if JMM is not won over because of the ripple effect it could have on other small groups, independents and fence-sitters. JMM, a constituent of the UPA, stopped short of coming in support of the government with party chief Shibu Soren avoiding the media but the party chief whip Teklal Mahto saying in Ranchi that his party would back the government if it concedes their demands including the shifting of the headquarters of Damodar Valley Corporation and Coal India from West Bengal to Jharkand. Likewise, RLD chief Ajit Singh is believed to be holding out on the demand for his induction and securing the support of his three MPs may not be a problem for the UPA. However, strong signals emanating from the JD (S) camp is a cause for worry for the government. The Prime Minister spoke to Gowda Friday morning following which the latter is meeting Singh on Saturday. JD (S) Parliamentary Party leader M P Veerendra Kumar, who had fallen out with Gowda on the issue of the party aligning with BJP in Karnataka, said in Kozhikode that the former Prime Minister had told him that the party would vote against the trust motion. The MDMK, once a constituent of the UPA, also decided to issue a whip to all its four MPs to vote against the government. But the party faces a revolt from two of its members in the Lok Sabha,who are aligned with DMK.