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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Congress readies for ‘inevitable’ SP pullout

The Congress party is learnt to be preparing for the “inevitable SP pullout” from the UPA government even as the SP keeps everyone guessing about its game plan repeatedly predicting early elections.

Written by D K Singh | New Delhi | Published: June 29, 2013 6:19:35 am

The Congress party is learnt to be preparing for the “inevitable SP pullout” from the UPA government even as the SP keeps everyone guessing about its game plan repeatedly predicting early elections. The ruling party sources,however,asserted that the SP’s withdrawal of support will pose “no threat” to the stability of the government.

“We have reasons to believe that the SP is going to pull out anytime soon as they want elections in November. They will do it (withdraw support) on any pretext. It is not a matter of ‘if’,but of ‘when’. But it will not pose any threat to the stability of the government. Elections will be in time or may be a month or two ahead of schedule,” a top UPA functionary told The Indian Express.

While the Congress earlier treated talks about early elections as SP’s empty rhetoric,its strategists have now come to a firm conclusion that the SP would pull out to cushion itself against anti-incumbency factor at the Centre and also to encash anti-BSP sentiments in UP before the same factor sets in against the Akhilesh Yadav regime.

It is this assessment about the SP’s plan that has,among other factors,put the ruling dispensation in a dilemma over how to bring the Food Security Bill into force — through discussions and passage in Parliament or through an ordinance route. The SP has opposed the Bill terming it as “anti-farmer” and Congress strategists are wary of giving the SP an opportunity to withdraw outside support to the UPA government “in the name of farmers”.

As the BSP with its 21 MPs is expected to continue its outside support to the government,the Congress camp is confident of the survival of the government despite the SP’s pullout and a back-of-the-envelope calculation validates the ruling party’s belief.

During the vote on the contentious issue of FDI in retail sector in Lok Sabha last December,the UPA had secured 253 votes as against Opposition’s 218 with both the SP and the BSP walking out. As per the ruling party’s calculations,most of the political parties would also not be inclined to join the SP to dislodge the government towards the end of its term.

The Congress strategists are working to fortify the government in terms of numbers cosying up to the JD(U) and erstwhile partner DMK. While the Congress is yet to take a call on its prospective alliance partner in Bihar,it voted in favour of the Nitish Kumar government in the confidence motion in the Assembly. The Congress then decided to support the candidature of DMK patriarch Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi in Rajya Sabha biennial elections.

In both cases,the party has clarified that its decisions should not be construed as a prelude to any alliance,which would be decided by the AICC sub-group on pre-poll alliances led by Defence Minister A K Antony.

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