It’s now a game of arithmetic in the Lok Sabha (With UPA plunges into fresh crisis as Mayawati withdraws support Lead)

June 21st, 2008 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By Monobina Gupta
New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) The Bahujan Samajwadi Party’s (BSP) decision to withdraw support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has set into motion the game of arithmetic in the Lok Sabha, as the crisis facing the government over the nuclear deal showed no signs of diminishing. The Manmohan Singh government may survive a vote of trust in the lower house of parliament, despite withdrawal of support by the Left parties and the BSP, provided that the Samajwadi Party - with which the Congress is flirting - and smaller regional parties agree to bail it out.

At present the UPA has a total of 219 MPs in a house of 543. The major UPA constituents are Congress (153), Rashtriya Janata Dal (24), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (16) and Nationalist Congress Party (11).

The Left parties with 59 MPs are extending outside support to the UPA government. The BSP which, was supporting the government on the floor of Lok Sabha till now, has 17 MPs.

In case the Left withdraws support the government will fall short by 53 MPs from the halfway mark of 272, in case it has to survive a trust vote in the Lok Sabha.

In such a scenario, the government will need the support of Samajwadi Party (37) and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (5). It also has to get the backing of 6 independents, Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular) with 3 MPs and the All India Majlis-E-Ettehadul-Muslimeen with 1 MP. Even in such a situation it will be short of 2 votes.

With the possibilities of an early election looming large, political parties are readying themselves for a give and take exercise, hoping to wangle the best possible deal from the political flux.

Congress sources are wooing the Samajwadi Party in earnest, hoping to get its support on the India-US nuclear deal as well as in parliament. The Samajwadi Party, expected to drive a hard bargain for its support, may pressurize the government to soft pedal the cases of disproportionate assets pending against its leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh.

The Congress, for its part, expects the Samajwadi Party to shore up its dwindling fortunes in Uttar Pradesh, especially now that the BSP has severed its links with the Congress and the UPA government.

JMM leader and former minister in UPA cabinet Shibu Soren may play hardball with the UPA to extract his pound of flesh for supporting it.

Deve Gowda, after recently supporting the Congress candidate from Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha elections, has indicated that an alliance is possible on the floor of Lok Sabha.

Mayawati’s announcement of withdrawal of support has set in motion the speculative game of numbers with the UPA getting ready to mop up as many allies as possible.

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