Falling far short of the majority mark in Rajya Sabha after its latest round of elections, the Congress-led UPA is chalking out a strategy to maintain a delicate balance between the SP and BSP to pass key bills in the Upper House.
With unpredictable ally Trinamool Congress not always forthcoming in its support, the UPA needs to bank on its outside supporters like SP and BSP for the rest of its current tenure to pass bills in the Rajya Sabha. During the last two sessions, a number of bills — especially in the education sector — were stalled by the opposition in the Upper House.
The next few rounds of biennial elections — July 2012 and then in April, June and July 2013 — will be of limited help to the UPA. The ruling coalition currently has 105 members in the 245-seat strong Rajya Sabha.
With Mulayam Singh’s SP increasing its tally to 8 and the BSP still a 15 MP-strong force in Rajya Sabha, Congress managers are keeping channels open with the two parties, which are archrivals on the Uttar Pradesh political turf."The Congress is unlikely to attack the new SP government for the time being. Also, Mulayam Singh is a veteran politician and understands that the new government will require help from the Centre," said a top Congress minister.
BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra is maintaining contact with the Congress and is likely to act as the key interlocutor even as party boss Mayawati returns to Rajya Sabha as a member.
The UPA’s fortunes may change in April 2014, when 55 Rajya Sabha seats go to poll. But that period is also slated as the run-up to the next general elections.