The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) may hold the key to the passage of the lokpal bill in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Their walkout from the Lok Sabha had helped the government pass the bill with ease on Tuesday. The government, clearly, is counting on a repeat performance by the UP parties.
The BJP is counting on the Left, the SP, the BSP and, possibly, the All India Trinamool Congress, joining hands with it on amendments on three key issues: making CBI independent of the government, making state lokayuktas optional, not mandatory, and broadening the selection process of the lokpal.While Left leaders requested SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to vote against the bill, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee requested him against it. BSP's Satish Mishra is also believed to have spoken to a top Congress leader over phone.
While BSP leaders say there is no "clarity" yet, there is buzz that Mayawati wants a walkout.
The numbers are delicately poised: the UPA has 94, and the NDA and Left have 89. If the UPA adds independents and nominated MPs, it reaches 108. If the NDA-Left add AGP, ADMK, TDP, BJD and INLD to their tally, they reach 107. But, SP, BSP and RJD can save the government by walking out, as they can bring down the required number for passage from 122 to 109.
If SP and BSP oppose the government, the bill may fall. Moreover, if AITC backs an amendment or walks out, the bill may be in danger again.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley gave a veiled message: "All political parties will be watched keenly (by people) to test if they are just willing to proclaim but unwilling to strike."
NDA convenor Sharad Yadav rued the BSP and SP's unexpected stand in the Lok Sabha.
The bill may get stuck if the Rajya Sabha accepts any amendment that the Lok Sabha bill did not, necessitating the bill being sent back to the Lok Sabha.
If the Lok Sabha rejects the amendment, only a joint session can get the bill passed. Else, it goes into cold storage.