For months the Congress has been protesting the rapid decline in the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh. But the Nithari serial killings was the "last straw" that prompted the party to withdraw the support it gave to the Mulayam Singh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh so that a secular alternative could be installed in the state.
The Congress' support to the Yadav government was, according to party leaders, turning into a "liability". There was criticism that the party continued to back the government it was criticising.
"The Yadav government was becoming increasingly unpopular with every passing day," said Ashok Gehlot, AICC general secretary in charge of the state. "The Nithari killings were the last straw…the UPCC was pressing hard for severing ties with the Yadav government," he said. He also flouted Yadav for failing to chalk out a common minimum programme as promised by the SP leader when the Congress had offered its support to set up his government.
The decision to formally withdraw support was taken in consultation with the Congress High Command. Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Salman Khurshid met Congress President's Political Secretary Ahmed Patel earlier in the day before going to Lucknow to announce the withdrawal of support.
The Congress' decision to withdraw support came on the eve of the Assembly session where Yadav is likely to seek a vote of confidence. The party would now oppose him during the vote in its bid to attract the anti-Mulayam votes during the assembly elections, likely to be held in the next few weeks.
The withdawal of the Congress support — and earlier of Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal — would however not affect the SP's majority in the House. But if the 37 Bahujan Samaj Party members are disqualified, the Yadav government would be reduced to a minority. This would open up several possibilities, including imposition of President's rule in the state or allowing Mulayam to continue as a caretaker government.