The UPA government is making extra efforts to bring all the stakeholders in the government — especially the Trinamool Congress and DMK — on board before facing a possible adjournment motion on FDI in retail.
The government fielded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday to convince the two parties. The other allies, the NCP, Muslim League and National Conference, are already rallying behind it.
Singh assured the allies of better coordination in future — a major complaint of the allies — and told Trinamool's parliamentary party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay and DMK’s TR Baalu that they should support the government this time.Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee appealed to the allies to not vote against the government and went even to the extent of saying that losing the adjournment motion might lead to a mid-term election.
But despite the Congress crisis managers’ hope that the two allies would finally see reason, the TMC and DMK didn't budge from their earlier stand on Thursday. Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi of the TMC did not attend the meeting in protest against the FDI decision.
Later the Congress, however, sounded confident of the numbers that it could rustle up eventually and even dared the Opposition to bring in a no-confidence motion. Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said, "I am confident about our majority. When the occasion comes, you will see that." The party is banking on the calculation that no party wants mid-term elections.
Meanwhile, back-channel efforts are also on to persuade the SP and the BSP to support the government if push comes to a shove.
Even as the government is setting its own house in order before the big battle in the House, leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj quipped, "Why has the Congress fielded a junior spokesperson like Manish Tewari on such a crucial matter while the party president is silent? Are there differences between the government and the party?"