On Saturday, the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) announced the withdrawal of support to the Manmohan Singh government for its “failure to control prices, its step motherly attitude towards developmental issues concerning UP and for keeping the Taj corridor case dangling”. The BSP has 17 seats in the Lok Sabha.
Congress-BSP relations have been strained since January, but the move coincides with reports of a growing bonhomie between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP).
Asked if the decision was linked to reports of the warming up of ties between the Congress and the SP , the BSP chief remarked that she was being asked about one “who had been shown his place by the electorate and who was having to run helter-skelter”. She said, “Mulayam Singh is a weak, pitiable man and he is going in for an arrangement with a party that has no political base in UP.”
The decision of the BSP — which has a strength of 17 members in Parliament — does not numerically impact the survival of the Manmohan Singh government, but is likely to make the UPA more vulnerable on the nuclear issue.
Releasing copies of the withdrawal letter delivered to President Pratibha Patil, the BSP Chief said that — because of the UPA government’s wrong economic policies — poor and deprived sections of society had come under severe strain, while the rich were flourishing. Copies of the letter have been sent to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee and the Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari.
Mayawati refrained from commenting on the controversy relating to the nuclear deal, but said her party would consider the possibility of supporting a no-confidence motion against the UPA government. Asked if the BSP would support a BJP-sponsored no-confidence motion, she said her party would not be bothered about who moves the motion. “Issues are what matter to the BSP,” she said.
Quizzed about the possibility of an early parliamentary poll, Mayawati said, “Whenever elections are held, the BSP is ready”. She debunked suggestions about a pre-poll alliance with the BJP as “rubbish”, saying that she regarded the BJP and the Congress as being two sides of the same coin.
“The UPA government has continued to retain its discriminatory and step motherly attitude towards the UP government. Hence the decision to withdraw support”, Mayawati said.