Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) and Mayawati's BSP led an unexpected move by smaller parties on Thursday that jeopardised the fragile agreement between the government, the BJP and Left parties to kickstart business in Parliament's ongoing Winter Session with an adjournment motion on black money.
They suddenly insisted that inflation is the top priority, forcing adjournments before the government and opposition parties decided to discuss price rise in both Houses in the afternoon.
This too came undone as Congress' Andhra Pradesh 'rebel' MPs competed with the TRS to demand Telangana, resulting in adjournment of the Lok Sabha for the day. In Rajya Sabha, the BSP and JD(U) insisted on a discussion with voting, forcing adjournment.
Now, the discussions on inflation and black money are unlikely to come up before next week.
JD(U)'s MPs reportedly got signals from Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to focus on price rise. "However much we may shout, the names of secret bank account holders can't be revealed. Price rise is a bigger concern," said a JD(U) MP, considered close to Kumar.
Ironically, this came at a time when ally BJP was geared up to turn on the corruption heat on the Congress.
BSP leader in the Rajya Sabha, Satish Chandra Mishra, called up some opposition leaders in the morning to convey that his party would take up inflation, citing an order from his party chief that unlike Congress, which was "fighting for the third or fourth spot in UP", the ruling BSP could not ignore inflation.
With the third consecutive day wasted, the Congress blamed the "contradictions" within the opposition on prioritising issues. The BJP accused the government of failure in floor-management.
"There seems to be contradiction within opposition. Government had walked the extra mile and was ready to debate either black money or price rise," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.