The present trading of barbs over post-poll alliances notwithstanding, two major political events of mid-2012 will determine the decision of major players.
Elections to 10 Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh will be due after April and thereafter the country will head for Presidential elections. President Pratibha Patil’s term ends in July and a consensus on any one name appears bleak in a charged political atmosphere. Experts feel these two events will decide the political combination in UP and Uttarakhand.
Pollsters are predicting a fractured verdict in UP. The national players, Congress and the BJP, could end up playing a supporting role after the elections. The beneficiary would be either the BSP or the SP.
The assertion of Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh and BJP president Nitin Gadkari that their parties will sit in opposition in case of a hung assembly has, perhaps, overlooked the two coming big-ticket events.
The general perception is the Congress always wanted early elections in UP, confident of improving its tally of 20 seats — insufficient to win even one Rajya Sabha seat. BSP chief Mayawati, with 217 members, however, wanted delayed elections. Six Rajya Sabha members of the party retire in April. The Congress-led UPA is keen on bolstering its strength in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority.
Political observers feel Congress will not go for the BSP. This makes the picture rosy for the SP, which has 22 Lok Sabha MPs. The SP numbers will come in handy for the Congress, which is seeing ally Trinamool Congress (19 MPs) exercise veritable veto powers on a host of reform programmes including FDI.
UP, with 403 MLAs, is crucial to the success of the Congress pick for President, especially because the party is dependent on allies in some states. Besides Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members, members of state legislatures vote in presidential elections.
The Congress-Rashtriya Lok Dal combine joining hands with SP in a post-poll scenario is one combination being widely discussed. The other is a BSP-BJP pact. For now, top leaders of all parties are scotching such talk.