Unsure of TMC, govt reaches out to SP, BSP

PM invites UPA leaders to dinner

Unsure of TMC, govt reaches out to SP, BSP

Unsure of the stand of its key ally Trinamool Congress on various issues to be taken in the current session of Parliament, a jittery UPA is said to be making attempts to reach out to the SP and BSP in a bid to buy support for a stronger coalition at the Centre.

While there appears to be no immediate threat to the government at the Centre, UPA managers indicated on the opening day of the Budget session on Monday that Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad had been requested to talk to the Samajwadi Party on the issue of its support to the government.

Although the SP is an outside supporter of the UPA, the ruling coalition wants closer coordination with the party that will govern Uttar Pradesh, and is not wary of making it a part of the government at the Centre.

The Congress is also said to be opening channels of communication with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which received a drubbing in the recent UP polls. The Centre plans to seek the support of the two regional parties in pushing through crucial Bills.

The UPA manager feel they cannot bank on the support of the Trinamool Congress to get the Bills passed. Mamata Banerjee’s party had opposed the Lokpal Bill in the last session following which the draft legislation was dropped.

The UPA is also watching cautiously developments relating to the possible formation of a non-Congress, non-BJP front. It, however, heaved a sigh of relief as UP chief minister designate Akhilesh Yadav distanced himself from the statement he had made on Sunday welcoming a “third front.”

Amid such developments, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in an apparent effort to keep the UPA flock together, has invited the leaders of the UPA constituents for dinner on Tuesday.

The prime minister, who made a rare statement on the state of affairs in the UPA, said on Monday that the coalition government “has the numbers (to pull through in Parliament).”
Manmohan Singh’s remarks to reporters came a day after the UP chief minister-designate Akhilesh Yadav welcoming the debate on the possibility of a non-Congress, non-BJP third front.

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