The Congress is not likely to lose its sleep over the Samajwadi Partys veiled threats of withdrawing its support to the UPA government. The reasons,which the SP would not be comfortable accepting in public,are based on simple arithmetic.
While the support of 32 SP MPs,excluding those who defied whips,was very crucial for the survival of the UPA government during the July 22 trust vote last year,after about 60 member Left decided to vote against the government,the ruling UPA is not afraid of the SPs threats given the attrition from the Opposition ranks since the trust vote.
The Prime Ministers motion expressing confidence of the House in the Council of Ministers was carried with 275 votes in favour and 256 against,amounting to a majority by 19 votes,at a time when the effective strength of the Lok Sabha stood at 541,excluding two vacancies,one member not being allowed to vote under the courts direction and the Speakers vote. As against only two vacancies in the Lok Sabha at that time,there are now 33 seats vacant in the Lok Sabha due to disqualifications,resignations and death of members. The BJPs numbers in the Lok Sabha have declined from an effective strength of 128 at the time of trust vote to 114. In fact,it is a decline of 24 seats from the BJPs original strength of 138 after the 2004 polls. Also,all the five JD(U) MPs have resigned from the Lok Sabha in protest against the anti-north Indian violence in Maharashtra.
Recently,seven BJP members had decided to resign from LS after they got elected to the state assemblies during the recently concluded elections in Delhi,Madhya Pradesh,Rajasthan,Chhattisgarh. In addition,while the Left parties did not hesitate to vote alongside the BJP in the trust vote,the SP may not cast its lot with the BJP ahead of general elections given its minority support base in UP. So,despite jitters with the Congress over seat-sharing and handling of cases against SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav,it is the SP thats in a catch-22 situation.