NEW DELHI: On a day when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh claimed that he has “enough numbers” to run the show, efforts were made to reach out to both Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party for support needed to pass the railway and general budgets as well as some key legislations.
The Prime Minister himself called up Mulayam Singh after his son Akhilesh Yadav, the newly anointed leader of the Samajwadi Party and about-to-be sworn-in Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, was overheard floating the Third Front balloon during a casual chat in Parliament.
Much-neglected UPA supporter, RJD chief Lalu Prasad too swung into action. He was roped in to convince Mulayam Singh “not to take any hasty decision” at this juncture.
It was at the sidelines of Lalu’s daughter’s reception on Sunday that the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi had a long talk with Mulayam Singh.
But it was not so much Mulayam Singh, but Nitish Kumar who brought some relief to the UPA Government, literally struggling to keep its flock together. Dismissing any talk of a possible Third Front, he said that his party “the JD(U) is part of the NDA. The Third Front is being talked about but there is no concrete framework of it. I do not think that the Congress has weakened and the government in the Centre will ensure that there are no mid-term polls. They will ensure that they have the numbers.”
At the moment, the UPA has 274 seats in the Lok Sabha with the Congress itself contributing 206. The allies with the maximum numbers are: Trinamool Congress 19 and DMK 18. The other allies are: NCP-who’s chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has nine, RLD has five and National Conference three.
Others make up for another 16.
The UPA leaders also claim to have the support of 21 BSP MPs, SP’s 22, RJD four and JD(S) three. Of this, the BSP is unlikely to withdraw support from the UPA as it can neither be interested in propping up a Third Front led by Mulayam-Mamata-and other non-Congress CMs nor it is willing to go for a mid-term poll. As for the NDA, it has only 151 seats and the Left with friends stand at 65.
Nevertheless, any wrong move on the government’s part can galvanise the restless regional parties, the AIADMK, BJD and the TMC, to talk others into pulling the plug on the Manmohan Singh Government. It is, therefore, an uncertain way ahead for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government.