The Samajwadi Party, the UPA government’s new partner, has come up with its own set of demands. Of the areas that the SP are concerned about are reframing the implementation guidelines of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Program (NREGP) and an immediate ban on the exports of essential commodities to control the price line.
On Wednesday, SP general secretary Amar Singh discussed the his party’s engagement with the UPA at an informal meeting with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Later, the SP leaders woill meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for finalizing the terms of engagement.
With the SP having falling short of its promised 39 votes, the credit for the clear verdict in the trust vote for the government seems to have gone to the Congress Party managers. So much so that the SP leadership feels that their bargaining strength has been weakened.
The SP ended up delivering 33 MPs, includes two rebel MPs Beni Prasad Verma and Raj Babbar. But the SP leaders did not have any role in bringing them in, as those two supported the Congress on their own.
One formula suggested is that the parties should be allowed to contest the seats won by them in the last elections, as also the constituencies in which their candidates had come second. By that yardstick, the SP will put its weight behind the Congress candidates in 14 parliamentary seats in UP, as the party had won eight and come second in six constituencies during the last elections. In the remaining 66 parliamentary constituencies, it will be the other way round with the Congress supporting the candidature of SP candidates.