The fact that both parties actually oppose FDI in retail yet have allowed the UPA to push it through is unlikely to affect their support base in UP. This is what has driven their decision. For the majority of Indians, the issue of FDI in retail is not such an emotive or crucial one. Ms Mayawati knows well that her supporters in UP will understand that while she will oppose FDI in the state, it's imp-ortant that she supports the government in order to extract concessions for her vote-bank. Hence, we saw her asking for an Ambedkar memorial in Mumbai on the eve of the Lok Sabha vote. By doing this, she was safeguarding the interests of her core constituency, that of the Dalits. Similarly, Mulayam Singh Yadav's caste equations in UP will not change due to his indirect support to the government on FDI while opposing it in principle. While the UPA seems to be perfecting the fine art of coalition politics with its deft political management, it must be conceded that the Opposition, too, has played its part well. Even though there was every likelihood that the motion moved by it would be defeated in both Houses, the leaders of the Opposition came up with impassioned arguments against FDI.
But, the overt dependence on the SP and BSP could also prove a double-edged sword for the government in the long-run. Both parties are not going to dole out favours to save the UPA without extracting their price. This is where the government will have to negotiate skillfully to ensure that it doesn't become a pushover. This is going to be a difficult task knowing how intractable both Mr Yadav and Ms Mayawati can be. But with this latest showing in the Rajya Sabha, it can safely be said that the TMC is not likely to get its 15 minutes of fame - as it did earlier by trying to topple the government - in a hurry again.