New Delhi: With Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee hardening her stand against the UPA government on the issue fuel price hike, cap on LPG subsidy and FDI in the retail sector, the Congress leadership is now eyeing support of the Bahujan Samaj Party led by Mayawati to keep the ruling coalition afloat.
If Congress parts ways with the Trinamool Congress, it would be easier for the ruling party to take various major policy decisions and for this it would need the crucial support of either Mayawati’s party or Samajawadi Party (SP) led by Mulayam Singh Yadav.
However, with the SP chief playing the guessing once again and keeping his cards close to his chest, it is most likely that the Congress leadership will rope in support of Mayawati, even if it comes with a huge price tag.
In the present scenario, BSP is the best bet of the Congress, as Mayawati has indicated that she does not want mid-term polls, especially after facing humiliation in the UP assembly elections six months ago.
The first indication that BSP is going soft on the beleaguered UPA government came after Mayawati’s party boycotted the nation-wide strike called by opposition parties today to protest the government`s reform measures announced last week.
This has come as a huge relief to the UPA government, which is now in a minority in Parliament after the Trinamool Congress announced it was exiting the Congress-led ruling coalition.
The ruling party is now obviously looking at the BSP, which supports the UPA from outside, as its best bet to make up the numbers it needs to survive. The BSP has 21 MPs, two more than the Trinamool Congress.
Sources in Mayawati`s party have said that she will decide on her relationship with the UPA at a meeting of her party on October 9 - the party supports the UPA from outside.
Though the BSP too has opposed the hike in diesel prices and the new norms on foreign direct investment in retail effected last week, Mayawati is most likely to bailout UPA as the Dalit leader would be able wield more influence by being part of government to settle scores with arch-rival SP.
Whether Congress gets support of BSP or SP is a matter of time but the big relief for the Congress though is the unequivocal support of its allies.
Both the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the DMK have chosen to rally behind the government.