After Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s dramatic announcement of withdrawing support to the Centre, the government’s survival now hinges on the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, both crucial to its majority in the Lok Sabha.
Though the two parties don’t seem in a hurry to do a Mamata, they are likely to extract a price for their outside support.
Without the SP and BSP’s backing, the government has 254 MPs — 17 short of the majority mark of 271. But with their support, the numbers go up to 297, well above the danger mark.
Minutes after Banerjee announced snapping of ties with the UPA, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said the government shouldn’t take his party’s outside support for granted — a clear indication that the party was ready for some hard bargaining. It can ask for financial packages for Uttar Pradesh, where it is in power.
The government was acting as if it enjoyed a 2/3 majority, Yadav said, adding it forced Banerjee’s hand. “This government has lost credibility and can’t take our support for granted,” he said.
Sources ruled out the possibility of the SP joining the government even as party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav reached Delhi late Tuesday.
If the decisions to hike diesel prices and bring in FDI in multi-brand retail weren’t reversed, the party’s parliamentary board would meet after September 20 to review the situation, party leader Rajesh Dixit said. A nation-wide bandh has been called on September 20 by the parties opposed to the FDI and diesel hike moves.
But, the SP's anti-Centre rhetoric is likely to continue as Mulayam fancies his chances as PM through a possible "third front" in case of a fractured verdict in the next Lok Sabha polls.
Mayawati is expected to take a call only on October 10, when the BSP's executive meets. The party, however, will continue to oppose FDI and diesel hike.
The SP and BSP sources suspect that there could be some renegotiations between the Congress and Banerjee by Friday, when Trinamool ministers are expected to quit the government. The next three days will be keenly watched.