The government may find the going tough once the JPC on 2G Spectrum allocation is set up on Thursday. This is because it will be precariously poised, with the UPA and non-UPA parties having 15 members each in the 30-member panel, thereby making it difficult for it to steer its deliberations.
Consisting of 20 Lok Sabha and 10 Rajya Sabha members, the panel will include Congress (11), DMK (2), Trinamool (1) and NCP (1). The non-UPA representation will be BJP-NDA (8), Left (2), BSP (2) and one each from SP, BJD and AIADMK.
Besides keeping its flock together, the Congress will have to turn to the SP and BSP for support or become fence sitters.
"If the SP and BSP stay with us, we will just match the government's strength. But if they change their position, the government will be in a majority," said a BJP leader.
The Congress, which had wanted only a 21-member panel to ensure the UPA's dominance, has had to bow to Opposition pressure to broadbase it so that it includes the AIADMK.
Given the significance of the issue, the BJP has put heavyweights on the panel - Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, Haren Pathak (Lok Sabha) SS Ahluwalia and Ravi Shankar Prasad (Rajya Sabha). It has given one seat to the Shiv Sena. Its ally JD-U will send two members.
Though there is speculation that Congressman PC Chako or Kishore Chandra Deo may head the panel, the party list of nominees will be finalised late Wednesday night.
Some Congressmen are reportedly wary of joining the panel lest it mar their chances of being considered for a ministerial berth when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reshuffles his cabinet after the budget session.
The motion for a JPC will first be moved, discussed and voted in the Lower House on Thursday. A similar motion with names of the 10 Rajya Sabha members will be moved in the Upper House next week.