The United Progressive Alliance government may have been reduced to a minority but there is no threat to the coalition as it has friendly parties like the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) to bail it out.
The SP went on record to say that the party will not follow the Trinamool Congress which pulled the rug on Tuesday and will continue to back the ruling dispensation. Said SP leader Ramgopal Yadav: “We are not going to take any decision under the influence of it (Trinamool’s decision).”
The BSP is in no position to distance itself from the UPA, particularly after its defeat in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. Both SP and BSP are outside supporters of the UPA.
The SP has 22 MPs and BSP, 21 as they lend crucial support to the UPA. Apart from this, Lalu Prasad’s RJD (four MPs) and H D Deve Gowda’s JD(S) (three MPs) will continue to lend outside support. Gowda had indicated that he may withdraw support if the decisions were not rolled back.
Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party indicated that it may demand a trust vote by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The party complimented the West Bengal chief minister on withdrawing support from the Union government. BJP spokesperson Ravishanker Prasad told reporters that “the beginning of the downfall of the UPA has started.
Since this is drifting towards minority no decision should be taken by the government in a hurry.”
The BJP, he said, will convene a meeting and consult NDA allies to form the next strategy. A minority section of the Congress wants to mollify Banerjee but the large majority is said to be of the view that having taken a tough decision on reforms, the government or the party should not go back or dilute it now. “Having gone thus far, it will be difficult for us to placate Banerjee now,” said a Congress leader.
Party spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi, however, said: “We have always considered Trinamool as a valuable ally and will continue to do so till a final decision is taken.”
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar too hailed Mamata’s decision. “The Congress-led government does not deserve to rule the country,” said Nitish, who is in Bettiah (Champaran) from where he will kick-start his Adhikar yatra on Wednesday. Lalu, however, mocked at Mamata and said she had an expertise in changing her decisions at her own sweet will. “Why has she asked her ministers to quit on Friday when the decision to withdraw support from the UPA was taken on Tuesday? Has any astrologer told her that Friday is an auspicious time to resign,” Lalu asked.
On Tuesday evening, the prime minister met Finance Minister P Chidambaram and is said to have given the latter the green signal to go ahead with other reform measures. Simultaneously, Chidambaram is likely to announce a slew of pro-people programmes in the next few days.
UPA in Lok Sabha after TMC support
Rashtriya Lok Dal 5
National Conference 3
Total strength of UPA 254
Parties supporting UPA from Outside:
Samajwadi Party 22
Bahujan Samaj Party 21
Rashtriya Janata Dal
Janata Dal Secular JD(S) 3
Outside supporters 304
LOK SABHA TOTAL NO OF MPs
(Excluding Speaker) 540 (TWO SEATS VACANT NOW)
Halfway mark 270
UPA Government needs 271
votes to win a trial of strength in Lok Sabha