Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday had a lunch-on meeting with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati in a bid to reach out to allies ahead of the winter session of Parliament which may see a no-confidence motion against the UPA government.
The Prime Minister’s meetings with the two leaders were seen as an effort to garner support for the upcoming Parliament session as Trinamool Congress (TMC) has threatened to bring a no-confidence motion against the UPA government after withdrawing its support on the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail and cap on LPG cylinders.
Only two days ago, Singh hosted dinner for Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Along with Mayawati’s BSP, SP too has extended outside support to the UPA government.
The support of the SP and the BSP is crucial for the survival of the Congress-led government at the centre. The SP has 22 members in the Lok Sabha while the BSP has 21.
After her meeting with the Prime Minister, Mayawati sought to dismiss speculations and remained evasive on her stand in case the TMC brings a no-confidence motion in Parliament.
“The Prime Minister had invited me for lunch. In politics these lunch, dinner and meetings keep happening. But, I think this should not be linked with the Parliament session. I have been meeting (the PM) on several occasions. This is part of politics. I have spoken about this in detail at our party rally in Lucknow on October 9. We will take necessary steps keeping in mind what we had said in that rally. Why do you want our response in advance,” the BSP supremo said.
She said, her party had authorised her to take the final call on the issue but she was yet to take any decision.
The Congress too downplayed the lunch-on with its spokesperson Rashid Alvi maintaining that Singh was free to call anyone for such meetings.
However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said, during the lunch-on meeting with Singh, Mayawati said that she would like to cooperate with the government.
“We have worked together with the SP and the BSP in Parliament and we believe that for issues which are so important to the country, we will have support from all parties including the BJP,” he said.
The BJP described the PM-Mayawati meeting as “deal diplomacy”.
“Now, the time for departure for this government has come and the allies supporting it from outside and inside are also aware. So, this is a deal diplomacy before departure and now attempts are being made to clear all the internal dues,” BJP vice president and spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.