Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today reached out to BSP supremo Mayawati ahead of winter session of Parliament, but she remained evasive on her party's stand on plans by Trinamool Congress to bring a motion against FDI.
Singh hosted a lunch for Mayawati, whose party with 21 members in the Lok Sabha, is extending outside support to the UPA government.
The meeting came just days after the Prime Minister hosted a dinner for Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. SP has 22 members in the Lok Sabha.
The meetings with the two outside supporters of the government are being seen as an effort by the UPA to reach out to Yadav and Mayawati after Trinamool Congress, having 19 members in the Lok Sabha, pulled out of the UPA.
After the meeting, when Mayawati was asked about her stand on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's statement that her party could bring a no confidence motion against the government on the issue of Foreign Direct Investment, she remained evasive.
"I have spoken about this in detail in our party rally in Lucknow on October 9. We will take whatever steps necessary keeping in mind what we had said in that rally," she said.
"Whenever such a situation crops up, ask us this question but why do you want our response in advance," she retorted, adding that her party members have authorised her to take a final decision on supporting the UPA. She has, however, not taken a call on the issue so far.
Mayawati had also hinted at early Lok Sabha polls and asked her party cadres to remain prepared.
Mayawati played down the meeting with the Prime Minister which came hours before his dinner meeting with UPA allies tonight.
"The Prime Minister had invited me for lunch as you know we are a political party. And in politics these lunches, dinners and meetings keep happening...but I think this should not be linked with the Parliament session. I have been meeting (the PM) on ocassions...this is a part of politics," she said.
She said that since her party is an outside supporter of the government, they are invited from time to time.
Mayawati said her party would once again demand early passage of the bill for reservations in promotions for SCs and STs in government jobs which is scheduled to be taken up in Parliament in the winter session.
"The winter session is beginning from November 22 and we will raise this issue again. That bill has been cleared by the Cabinet and it came to the Rajya Sabha when only two-three days of the last session were left," she said.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi too downplayed the lunch meeting saying the Prime Minister was free to call anyone for such meetings.