With 43 MPs between themselves, the SP and BSP — the two warring giants in Uttar Pradesh — will become crucial for the survival of the government. For, the UPA without the DMK will be more than 40 seats below the majority mark of 271.
BSP boss Mayawati declared, “The UPA government is not in a minority. We will support it. We want to keep communal forces at bay.” Senior SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav also assured: “It (the government) is stable. No one has pulled out. This is only to blackmail the government.”
But that doesn’t end the government’s worries, as carrying the two mercurial parties along will require a delicate balancing act. Their constant jostling in UP apart, the parties took diametrically opposite positions recently in Parliament on a bill aimed at giving reservations in promotion to SC and STs in government jobs.
Mayawati backed the promotion quota bill and even promised her support to FDI in multi-brand retail if the government passed the law. But the SP openly opposed the bill, claiming it violated “natural justice”.
JNU sociologist Vivek Kumar thinks the arrangement could last. “First, the UP government would want a package from the Centre. And, will it risk its secular credentials by toppling the Congress, which can be seen as helping the BJP?”
But it remains to be seen how the SP reacts when the BSP wants the promotion quota bill passed. BJP leaders, however, claim that the SP would want to pull out to prevent the anti-Congress mood from harming itself.