Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati openly pledged support to the UPA's decision to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail on Thursday, ensuring a comfortable victory for the government in Friday's vote in Rajya Sabha.
The BSP chief - who is not part of the ruling combine, but
provides outside support - targeted Sushma Swaraj, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, who alleged on Wednesday that the fear of the CBI was behind the BSP and Samajwadi Party's decision to walk out before the FDI voting in Lok Sabha.
She said Swaraj spoke in frustration as the BSP made it possible to defeat her motion against the government.
"BJP's condition was like a fox which could not reach the grapes and termed them sour."
Mayawati, in her speech, focused entirely on her experiences with the BJP while the two parties were in alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
She said it was the BJP that later misused the CBI by slapping false cases against her when the NDA was in power.
The BJP, meanwhile, accused the government of having struck a deal with the BSP.
Party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad asked, "Why this metamorphosis in the BSP in one day?"
Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath replied: "There was no quid pro quo."
He also defended Mayawati's use of the word "fox" in the House - which drew loud protests from the BJP benches - saying there was nothing wrong in using a word referring to an old quotation.
The perceptible change in the BSP's stance from indirect support in Lok Sabha to open pledge of support in the Upper House is being attributed to the government's constant and active engagement with the party in recent days.
The government is learnt to have assured Mayawati of ensuring the passage of a constitution amendment bill on quota in promotions for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
Wednesday's announcement by the government to initiate the process for the construction of the Dr BR Ambedkar memorial in Mumbai also helped in getting the BSP on board.
Justifying her decision to support FDI in retail, Mayawati said, "The BSP has decided to vote in favour of the government, since it has a plus point as it is not binding on states and they are free to implement it."
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