Congress wooing smaller parties over n-deal

July 2nd, 2008 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) India’s ruling coalition will fall short of 10-15 seats in the Lok Sabha even if the Samajwadi Party extends support to the government in the likely aftermath of the Left parting ways. According to Lok Sabha statistics, the UPA now has 219 MPs and enjoys the backing of the four-party Left block that commands 61 MPs. Of the Left MPs, 59 belong to four parties including the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

If the Left divorces the UPA, its strength will fall to 219. The Samajwadi Party’s support will fetch it 39 more MPs, but two of them are dissidents in the party.

This will leave the multi-party UPA coalition short of 14 MPs - from the 272 needed to prove its majority in the lower house.

But UPA’s problems do not end here.

Within the Congress-led UPA, there are smaller parties - such as the Indian Union Muslim League (one seat) and the Kerala Congress (two) - that are not very comfortable with the India-US nuclear deal.

So, to be on the safe side, the Congress is desperate to get the support of at least 15 to 20 MPs to back it up in the event any party moves a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.

Already, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) with 17 MPs has withdrawn the outside support it provided to the UPA government.

The Republican Party of India led by Ramdas Athawale, otherwise a part of the UPA, has not been vocal on the nuclear deal. Similar is the situation with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who is not with the UPA but is being courted by it.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from Jammu and Kashmir has broken ranks with the Congress in the state, thus adding to the UPA’s headaches.

The two-member Kerala Congress is part of the Left Democratic Front in Kerala led by the CPI-M but attends UPA meetings. The CPI-M will not forgive it if it ends up backing the UPA on the nuclear deal.

The Janata Dal-Secular’s Kerala unit is also part of the CPI-M LDF government. It has three Lok Sabha MPs and is yet to spell out its stand on the nuclear deal.

The major UPA constituents are the Congress (153), Rashtriya Janata Dal (24), DMK (16) and the Nationalist Congress Party (11).

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