"We have different strategies for the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha," explained BSP leader Satish Chandra Misra on the change in stance from the lower house to the upper house. But what does not change in the strategy of both BSP and SP is their sharp focus on the elections in Uttar Pradesh while deliberating on the Lokpal bill.
The dealings of the Congress too with these two parties are guided by its calculations for UP — primarily keeping a safe distance from both, but engaging both. Congress sources said the party may have to do business with either, in the event of a hung assembly in the crucial state.
Both parties — supporting the UPA from outside — had bailed out the Congress-led government in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday when they walked out of the House during the vote on the Lokpal bill.
Though the two UP arch-rivals view the Congress as their political opponent in the state, they have buried their differences for the time being and joined hands in facilitating the passage of the Lokpal bill in Lok Sabha.
The move prompted the BJP, another player in UP politics, to suggest there was a tacit understanding between these parties and the Congress at the Centre.
However, Misra's attack on Rahul Gandhi on Thursday during the debate in Rajya Sabha clearly indicated that the BSP's primary focus is UP.
Referring to Rahul's statements in UP, Misra said, "Your leader goes to UP and says we have given money for the state's development. Let me tell you Delhi is not your property. Delhi's money is not your 'jaagir (property). It's not your money, it is our money with which you are running 150 projects".
He went on to say that the Congress saw only Amethi and Rae Bareli in UP.
But in contrast, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav restricted his speech to Lokpal only in anticipation of a likely power-sharing deal with the Congress in the state.
Congress managers are not averse to working either with the SP or BSP in UP but in any case they don't want to see the BSP going with the BJP.